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Describing ratatouille as only a kind of vegetable stew seems mean. This mixture of colorful Mediterranean vegetables is so much more. When cooked well, ratatouille looks great, smells heavenly and tastes divine. The dish can be cooked simply in one pot on a stove top, and you can make the preparation of your ratatouille recipe even easier and faster with a few more tips and tricks.

Preparing Your Ratatouille Dish

If you're confident in your chopping skills, you can cut down the time it takes to prepare ratatouille ingredients. Most recipes advise you to cut up all the vegetables before you begin to gently fry them. However, cooks who are fast at chopping can save time by preparing some of the vegetables while others are already cooking. Don't go so fast that you risk cutting your fingers.

Ratatouille Recipe

Total Time: 30 minutes | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large eggplants
  • 4 small zucchini
  • 2 red or yellow bell peppers (or 1 of each color)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves (or 2 teaspoons minced garlic from a jar)
  • Small bunch fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (whatever kind you have in your cupboard)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (24-ounce) can or jar of passata (if you can't find this sieved tomato sauce at your local supermarket, use a regular tomato pasta sauce)

Directions:

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven and place the pot over a low heat on your stove top.

  2. While the oil is warming, cut the 2 eggplants into halves lengthwise and then slice the halves into 1-inch chunks.

  3. Turn up the heat under the pot to medium low and add the eggplant chunks.

  4. Cut the ends from the zucchinis and then cut them into 1-inch slices. Stir the eggplant so it browns on all sides. 

  5. Cut around the stalks of the red or yellow peppers and slice them in half. Cut out the inner membranes and shake out the seeds. Cut the peppers into 1-inch chunks.

  6. Remove the eggplant chunks from the pot when they are soft, after about 10 minutes.

  7. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pot, swirl it to coat the bottom and then add the zucchini slices.

  8. Thinly slice the onion. 

  9. Stir the zucchini slices and remove them from the pot when they are slightly softened, after about 5 minutes.

  10. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot and then add the red or yellow pepper chunks.

  11. Peel and crush the garlic cloves and tear up the basil leaves.

  12. Stir the peppers, and when they've softened in about 5 minutes, remove them from the pot.

  13. Add the final tablespoon of oil to the pot and then add the onion and garlic. 

  14. Fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes and next add the red wine, sugar, salt and half of the basil leaves.

  15. Return the eggplant, zucchini and peppers to the pot and pour in the passata.

  16. Turn up the heat and stir the mixture. As soon as it begins to boil, turn down the heat to low.

  17. Simmer the ratatouille for 10 minutes or for as long as it takes for the vegetables to cook to the desired softness.

  18. Spoon the ratatouille onto serving plates and scatter the remaining basil leaves over the top.

Tip

If you find that one set of vegetables has cooked before you're ready to add the next set, simply remove the pot from the heat to give yourself a little more time.

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About the Author

Jenny Green

Jenny Green has a Masters in English literature and has been a freelance writer since 2008.