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Rustic Ratatouille Recipe

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Bring a rustic French classic to life in your own home with my hearty ratatouille recipe, a Provençal dish that has been eaten not only in France but also all over the world for generations.

If you’re looking for the popular ratatouille in the confit byaldi style, made famous by the Disney film Ratatouille, try this recipe. If want to make a traditional ratatouille, keep reading.

Ratatouille Recipe

What is Ratatouille?

Historically made from leftovers, traditional ratatouille is a popular vegetable stew. While recipes can vary greatly, typical ingredients include tomato, zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, garlic, onion, and fresh herbs.

What is deemed ‘traditional’ ratatouille is a hotly debated topic among French chefs, food critics, and everyday citizens to this day. My recipe is inspired by what is considered traditional ratatouille.

Difference Between Traditional and Confit Byaldi Style

If you search online for ‘ratatouille,’ chances are you’ll find the confit byaldi-style ratatouille. First created by French chef Michel Guérard, the variation of this dish made by American Thomas Keller, with a top layer of fried vegetable rounds, is the one that was made popular by the award-winning 2007 Disney Pixar animated movie Ratatouille.

However, this is a modern take on ratatouille, and traditionally the dish was not prepared in this way. You can see the difference below.

Ingredients

To make my ratatouille recipe, you’ll first need the following ingredients:

  • Eggplants – 2 medium-small eggplants/aubergines
  • Zucchini – 2 zucchinis/courgettes (green or one green zucchini and one yellow squash)
  • Bell Peppers – 3 bell peppers (a mix of colors)
  • Tomatoes – 6 tomatoes (peeled, instructions below)
  • Onion – 1 large onion
  • Garlic – 3 cloves of garlic (or more, to taste)
  • Bay Leaves – 1 bay leaf
  • Fresh Herbs – a handful of fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley
  • Herbes de Provence – 1/2 tsp herbes de provence or dried thyme
  • Olive Oil – 8 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt – 2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
  • Black Pepper – 1 tsp ground black pepper

Ingredient Notes

Herbes de Provence – they are simply a mix of herbs typical in the Provence region of France, generally including thyme, rosemary, basil, marjoram, oregano, and tarragon, among others. You can create your own mix or simply substitute dried thyme (1/2 tsp of dried thyme) or fresh thyme (1 and 1/2 tsp of fresh thyme) in this recipe.

Tomatoes – you can also use canned peel tomatoes (about 1 can of 14.1 oz or 400 grams) or passata. If using canned tomatoes or passata, I recommend getting the highest quality you can get. And you may potentially have to use a bit of sugar (about 1 tsp) as the canned tomatoes tend to be more acidic.

Eggplant/Aubergine – I didn’t salt and drain the eggplant/aubergine, but if you want to, you could add the diced cubes of eggplant to a colander and sprinkle about 1 tsp of salt and leave them to drain for about 20 minutes.

Cooking the Vegetables Separately – In this recipe, I used the traditional way of cooking the vegetables (first, individually in a pan and then, all together in a pot). You could just cook them all in one pot together without sauteeing each vegetable first if you want an easier recipe. You’ll lose a bit of the flavor, but it is easier.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – (Optional) Peel the tomatoes.

A – First, score the tomatoes.

B – Add the tomatoes to a large heatproof bowl or pot and pour boiling water over them. Wait 10 minutes.

C – Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water.

D – Peel the skin with a knife and remove the stem

Step 2 – Dice all the ingredients first. I used a smaller dice as it’s what I prefer.

Step 3 – To a large pot, in which we will make the ratatouille stew, over medium heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil, and once hot, add the diced onion and 1/2 tsp of salt. Sautee the onion for about 4-5 minutes until soft.

Step 4 – Add the minced/chopped garlic to the onions and saute for about 1 minute.

Step 5 – Add the diced tomatoes and turn the heat to low, keeping the mixture simmering.

Step 6 – (Optional) After about 5 minutes of simmering the tomatoes, you can get an immersion blender and partially blend the onion-tomato mixture. It makes for a creamier final finish to the dish.

Step 7 – In a separate pan over high heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil and saute the vegetables one by one. First, saute the peppers (with a pinch of salt) for about 6 minutes and then add them to the simmering tomato-onion mixture.

Step 8 – Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, and saute the eggplant (and a pinch of salt) for about 5 minutes and add the eggplant to the pot.

Step 9 – Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, and saute the zucchinis (and a pinch of salt) for about 4 minutes and add the eggplant to the pot.

Step 10 – Mix all the veggies in the ratatouille pot and add the Herbes de Provence (or thyme), remaining salt, ground black pepper, and a bay leaf.

Step 11 – Simmer the ratatouille (covered with a lid) for 1 hour. Generally, you have to simmer the ratatouille for at least 30 minutes, but you can simmer it for a lot longer. The longer you simmer it, the more the flavor will intensify, and the ratatouille will be creamier. Once you’re done simmering it, remove the lid and turn the heat up to high for a few minutes, stirring, until you get the desired consistency (the liquid will evaporate while the pot is on high heat). For me, it took about 8 minutes on high heat after simmering it for 1 hour.

Alternatively, you can also cook the ratatouille in the oven. Transfer it to an oven-proof dish and put it in the oven at a lower temperature, like 300°F (or 150°C), for about 1.5-2 hours.

Step 12 – Add the chopped fresh herbs (such as basil or parsley) and stir everything.

Step 13 – Serve with a baguette and enjoy it!

Storage & Reheating

Let the ratatouille cool, and then store it in the fridge in a sealed, airtight container. The ratatouille will be even better the next day as the flavors will have more time to meld and come together!

Depending on the temperature in your fridge and other factors, ratatouille could be stored for around 4 days.

You can serve the ratatouille cold or reheat it either on the stove in a pan with a touch of olive oil (or in the microwave).

Recipe Card

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ratatouille

Ratatouille

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-small eggplants/aubergines
  • 2 zucchinis/courgettes (green or one green zucchini and one yellow squash)
  • 3 bell peppers (a mix of colors)
  • 6 tomatoes (peeled, instructions below)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic (or more, to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp herbes de provence or dried thyme
  • 8 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • a handful of fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. (Optional) Peel the tomatoes (note 1).
  2. Dice all the ingredients first. I used a smaller dice as it’s what I prefer.
  3. To a large pot, in which we will make the ratatouille stew, over medium heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil, and once hot, add the diced onion and 1/2 tsp of salt. Sautee the onion for about 4-5 minutes until soft.
  4. Add the minced/chopped garlic to the onions and saute for about 1 minute.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and turn the heat to low, keeping the mixture simmering.
  6. (Optional) After about 5 minutes of simmering the tomatoes, you can get an immersion blender and partially blend the onion-tomato mixture. It makes for a creamier final finish to the dish.
  7. In a separate pan over high heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil and saute the vegetables one by one. First, saute the peppers (with a pinch of salt) for about 6 minutes and then add them to the simmering tomato-onion mixture.
  8. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, and saute the eggplant (and a pinch of salt) for about 5 minutes and add the eggplant to the pot.
  9. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, and saute the zucchinis (and a pinch of salt) for about 4 minutes and add the eggplant to the pot.
  10. Mix all the veggies in the ratatouille pot and add the Herbes de Provence (or thyme), remaining salt, ground black pepper, and a bay leaf.
  11. Simmer the ratatouille (covered with a lid) for 1 hour. Generally, you have to simmer the ratatouille for at least 30 minutes, but you can simmer it for a lot longer. The longer you simmer it, the more the flavor will intensify, and the ratatouille will be creamier. Once you’re done simmering it, remove the lid and turn the heat up to high for a few minutes, stirring, until you get the desired consistency (the liquid will evaporate while the pot is on high heat). For me, it took about 8 minutes on high heat after simmering it for 1 hour.

    Alternatively, you can also cook the ratatouille in the oven. Transfer it to an oven-proof dish and put it in the oven at a lower temperature, like
    300°F (or 150°C), for about 1.5-2 hours.
  12. Add the chopped fresh herbs (such as basil or parsley) and stir everything.
  13. Serve with a baguette and enjoy it (note 2).

Notes

Note 1: How to Peel Tomatoes

A – First, score the tomatoes.

B – Add the tomatoes to a large heatproof bowl or pot and pour boiling water over them. Wait 10 minutes.

C – Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water.

D – Peel the skin with a knife and remove the stem

Note 2: Serving the Ratatouille Cold

Personally, I prefer the ratatouille cold the next day, spread on a slice of baguette or other toasted/grilled sturdy bread like sourdough.

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Authors

  • Doina Johnson is a recipe developer and writer. Doina has been cooking for most of her life, and her style draws from many different influences. She cooked with her mother and grandma growing up in Eastern Europe, before adding modern, western influences to her style when living in the United States for about a decade. Then, she traveled full-time for several years, trying food in Europe, Asia, and South America, and bringing those influences into her own cooking. She strives to introduce passionate homecooks to world cuisine, generally by trying the food herself abroad and then recreating it at home and, at times, enlisting the help of local foodies and chefs.

  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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