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Classic French Ratatouille

By its original name ratatouille niçoise, ratatouille is a very popular French recipe originating in Nice (hence the full name). It is actually a recipe coming from the Occitan cuisine, which is mostly characterized by its Mediterranean accents.

Nowadays a traditional Provençale recipe, ratatouille can be both a main dish and a side dish, and it consists of stewed vegetables. Over time, some of the ingredients were modified or replaces, but there are some recipes that continue to maintain ratatouille’s true spirit of cooking. With tomatoes placed in the center of this recipe as the key ingredient, this French recipe also includes zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, garlic, onion, carrots and many aromatic herbs, such as basil, bay leafs or the incredible herbs of Provençe.

There are some an opinion in which ratatouille means to sauté all the ingredients and others which insist on different times and relations when cooking – the zucchini and the eggplant are sautéed separately, and all the other necessary ingredients are made into a sauce. This second recipe includes layering the ratatouille with its two parts (the sauce and the vegetables) and then baking it.

This special recipe described below is a rather special one, as it insists on not overcooking the ingredients so that they will literally float in their own juice, but on creating a crispy alternative. The ingredients are mainly the same, but there are some differences in the preparation steps.
For 4 portions, these are the necessary ingredients:

  • 4 pieces of zucchini
  • 2 pieces of eggplant
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 3 small green peppers
  • 1 medium-sized red pepper
  • 4 or 5 small onions or a large one]
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • parsley
  • basil
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper – preferably from a mill

  • The onion and the garlic should be nicely and finely chopped. Chop the basil and the parsley, but keep some leaves for the end, to have something to garnish with. The peppers should be cut into two, the stork seeds should be removed, and also the undesirable white parts; cut the peppers into small pieces of ½ inches. The eggplant and the zucchini should also be cubed at the same dimension. Un-peel the tomatoes and cut the flesh into small pieces.

    Take a frying pan and add the onion, the garlic and the peppers and fry tem in the olive oil until they are almost fully cooked. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper and stir frequently, so it won’t stick. You can now remove the frying pan from fire and concentrate on the other ingredients. Now it’s time to sauté the eggplant, until they reach a golden color, and then set them aside. It’s now time to sauté the zucchini, together with the tomatoes cubes and the parsley. Keep them on fire until they start golden, it shouldn’t take more than 3 minutes.

    This three-step recipe is now almost ready. Add the peppers and the eggplant in the pan and mix everything carefully, not forgetting to add the basil. At the end, you can use the parsley and basil leaves to garnish the dish.
    The main idea of this recipe is that each of these ingredients has its own time to reach it point of cooking. Not mixing them all in one pan reduces the risk of extra juicy vegetables, while maintain every flavor and aroma necessary to this incredible recipe.

    Tags: classic french ratatouille, classic ratatouille recipe, vegetable stew recipe, french food, food recipe, ratatouille recipe, french recipe, zucchini, eggplant recipes

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