Ratatouille Recipe

I was in shock to learn than most American people think that the dish ratatouille is a soup! No no no…

The Disney movie is totally wrong.

Ratatouille is a bright and chunky summer vegetable stew, rich with olive oil and fragrant with garlic and herbs. The dish originated from Provence, a region in the south of France near the Mediterranean Sea, known for its bounty of sun-ripened produce.

With a little imagination, there are endless possibilities: serve it alongside roasted or grilled meats and fish; make it shakshuka-style with poached eggs; toss it with pasta; spoon it over grains or creamy polenta; fold it into omelets or frittatas; dollop it over crostini with goat cheese; or eat it straight from the fridge as a snack (it’s delicious cold). And, if possible, make it at least a day ahead of time — ratatouille improves significantly after the flavors have a chance to mingle in the refrigerator. From the fridge as a snack (it’s delicious cold). If you have more than you can use up, freeze it for a taste of summer once the fall weather comes. Ratatouille improves significantly after the flavors have a chance to mingle in the refrigerator.

Servings: 8 (Makes about 7 cups)

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ingredients:

-1 large (1.25 lb) eggplant, cut into cubes ( you can skip it )

-Salt

-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

-2 medium zucchini (about 1 lb), cut into cubes

-1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

-1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into dice

-5 large cloves garlic, chopped

-5 large vine-ripened tomatoes (1.75 lb), cut into cubes, with their juices

-1 tablespoon tomato paste

-2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme, plus more for serving

-3/4 teaspoon sugar

-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

-3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Instructions:

-Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

-Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan (no need to clean it). Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and transfer to a plate; set aside.

-Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 3 minutes more. Do not brown. Add the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, thyme, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are broken down into a sauce, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cooked eggplant to the pan; bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. Add the zucchini and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until just warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh basil and thyme, drizzle with a little olive oil if desired, and serve warm or chilled. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

-Freezer-Friendly Instructions: Let the dish cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. (Keep in mind that the zucchini won’t stay crisp after being frozen.) This is delicious served cold, or reheated in the microwave.

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