Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Delicious Ratatouille Recipe

 The ingredients

Ratatouille is a Provencal dish that originated in the area around present day Nice, where it was a poor French peasant fare at first. It was prepared in the summer with fresh summer vegetables and herbs. 

The word "ratatouille" derives comes from the French word "touiller," which means to toss food. 

The original recipe used only zucchini, tomatoes, green and red peppers, onions, and garlic. Most modern recipes have eggplant as one of the main ingredients. I love to add black olives. And I always cook it with good French red wine.

Ratatouille may be eaten on its own as an appetizer or a main course. It is also a perfect side dish to a lamb roast.

To really enjoy this sun infused Mediterranean recipe purchase ripe, organic vegetable.

 The dish

  • 5 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, crushed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large red onion, quartered and sliced
  • 2 small eggplants, cut into cubs
  • 2 green bell peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped (peeled and seeded)
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini, cut into cubs
  • handful of Provencal black olives
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  •  1/2 glass dry red wine
  • Celtic sea salt and black pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, carefully warm the olive oil over medium heat. Do not burn. Add onions and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add peppers. Stir and cook for 5-8 minutes. Add eggplant. Stir until coated with oil. Cook for another 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent vegetables from sticking to the pot. 

Add tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs. Mix well. Cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and red wine. Cook for another 5 minutes. Toss in the black olives. Add chopped garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the vegetable are tender, but not overcooked. 

I prefer my vegetables cooked al dente. You may want to adjust the cooking time according to your personal preference.

Serve with French baguette and a glass of robust Provencal red wine. Enjoy in good company!

By Dominique Allmon ©2012