Traditionally Ratatouille is made with eggplant so I’ve given the recipe below for eggplant. I don’t really like eggplant so I substitute with carrots instead. I also like to add mushrooms to give it a bit of meatiness, although for a non-vegetarian version, cooked chicken is another option. Also, this dish is traditionally made with fresh chopped tomatoes and fresh herbs, so if you have those at hand use those instead, but the recipe below is the easy tomatoes in a tin version.
The dish packs a punch as far as flavour goes and I love serving it with creamy polenta to balance out the flavours. Even so, the addition of a little chilli really gives it a nice little kick.
Ingredients – to serve approx. 4 people
1 – 2 small eggplant, chopped (or 1-2 carrots peeled and sliced)
3 zucchini, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 capsicum, sliced
1 440g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp mixed dried herbs
1 small red chilli, chopped or 1/2 tsp of dried chilli (optional)
freshly chopped parsley (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
- If using eggplant, sprinkle liberally with salt and leave to drain for 20 minutes to draw out any bitterness. Rinse and pat dry.
- Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and sauté zucchini and eggplant (or carrot) in batches until golden on each side. Set aside.
- Add a little more oil and cook onion over low heat for a few minutes until golden. Add capsicum and cook for another 5 minutes until tender.
- Add tomatoes, garlic, herbs, chilli and zucchini and eggplant. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to reduce and thicken sauce.
- Season to taste and stir in fresh parsley and serve.
Serve over cooked pasta, cous cous, soft polenta or as an accompaniment to meat.
- For a non vegetarian version, add some cooked chicken or cooked sausage.
- Add some mushrooms just after the capsicum.
- Use fresh herbs instead of dried like thyme or oregano, or try a different dried herbs like just dried basil, or just oregano, or your own favourite combo.