On a cold, blustery winter’s evening there is nothing better than a bowl of something warm and hearty to stick to your bones. Ratatouille is perfect for such occasions!
This traditional French recipe came to me by way of my belle-famille and is a family recipe dating back over a hundred years. It is, in other words, tried, tested and approved!
The day I made this video was a dismal December evening. The Parisian winds were howling outside our windows. It was a quintessential Ratatouille day. Today, as I write this, Paris is gorgeous, skies like a pale sapphire, the sunny is shining in all the windows. I think I’ll keep mine in the freezer in anticipation of more winter weather to come.
The recipe is simple, relatively light on labor and delicious. Once you’ve cut all your vegetables up, there’s nothing left but to sauté them in butter on low heat, adding one at a time starting with the garlic and onions, then the peppers, the zucchini, the eggplant and finally the tomatoes. After 10 minutes of cooking the veggies all together, add your seasoning. Let cook for another 20-30 minutes (30-40 minutes in total).
Ratatouille is an excellent side dish for almost all meats. The French often rotate Ratatouille and green beans as their vegetables of choice. It is also an excellent beginning to a tomato-based pasta sauce if you have some leftovers. And it freezes marvelously. In fact, this recipe gets better the more times you warm it up! My mom, a vegetarian, uses this recipe as a full meal with a side of rice.
Wine choice: Faugères or Côtes-du-Roussillon from the Languedoc (Southern France)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 large cooking onion
- 1 red pepper
- 1 green pepper
- 2 zucchini
- 1 large eggplant
- 1/8 cup butter (or 2-3 tablespoons olive oil as a substitute)
- 2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp Herbe de Provences
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 tbsp Oregano
- 1/2 tbsp Paprika doux
Cut up each vegetable in small sections and add one at a time to melted butter in large pot on low heat. Let each vegetable reduce before adding in the next. After cooking all together for 10 minutes, add seasoning and let cook on low heat for 20 more minutes. You cannot cook this too long, but make sure you stir occasionally so that it does not burn at the bottom. It only gets better the longer it simmers.
It is the very best if you make it the day before you want to serve it. The flavors intensify with time.