View Full Version : Ratatouille--sans rat.

05-28-2008, 11:40 PM
Okay, okay--one more by request and then I have to start thinking about killing some more Elves.

Ratatouille is a staple in my house--which is a house where no one but me likes vegetables. Why, you may ask?


Because I puree it and use it as a base for beef stew. As long as all they see is meat and potatoes, they never realize that they're actually eating things that are good for them.

That being said--when I cook ratatouille, I use all fresh vegetables--as in go to the farmer's market, see what they have, and cook the ratatouille that day. You can adjust the amount of these specific veggies to suit your taste, but this is basically the recipe that I use.


1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 small zucchini squash (some people substitute summer squash) halved and cut into 1/4" slices
I whole eggplant, cubed
5 ripe tomatoes
1 cup chopped pepper ( I usually use 1 green and 1 yellow pepper)
1/2 cup white wine

Fresh basil, fresh oregano, fresh rosemary--or season to taste
Old Bay seasoning to taste

1/2 cup swiss cheese (optional)

Start by making your tomato base. I peel and core the tomatoes and cook them down, adding the herbs and half of the wine. You'll know it's done when you have a strongly aromatic mush--about 45 minutes. You might add a cup of water if you want a base more like traditional marinara. (or, for the easy version, 2 cans of crushed tomatoes will work)

cook the onion and garlic in hot oil until tender. In your soup pot, cook the rest of the vegetables in the remainder of the wine. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat to simmer. Add the tomato stock--cover pot and cook for an additional 35 minutes or until everything is tender. (for the more time consuming version, GRILL the onion, zucchini, and eggplant so you get that smoky flavor and then cut/cube them. You can skip the sauteeing and go straight to the combination of the tomato mixture and the veggies--gives it a fabulous flavor, btw)

Uncover and cook for an additional 5 mninutes--this helps to thicken the soup--stirring occasionally. (or, for the easy version, throw everything into your crockpot in the morning and slow cook it on low while you're at work. Still works--trust me.)

Now then; I've served ratatouille many different ways. My favorite way is to serve it in bread bowls and sprinkled (okay slathered) with a big mound of swiss cheese. Even if you serve it in bowls, a good crusty french bread is the best condiment it could have besides a robust Red Zinfandel and the cheese on top.

I have also, upon occasion, added hot peppers to the soup. You don't need a LOT of them--ratatouille is very hearty on its own. However, if you want a bit of a bite to it add some of your favorite peppers (jalapenos, whatever) but ONLY in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. If you cook them in the soup the whole time, you lose the flavors of the squash and eggplant--which are the featured flavors of the dish.


05-28-2008, 11:58 PM
sounds great...

although it doesn't sound like it looks anything like what Remy cooks - my little girl may well be disappointed by that. :D

05-29-2008, 12:01 AM
You can just pretend. ;)

05-29-2008, 02:10 AM
Or you could make the recipe from the movie: Thomas Keller's Confit Byaldi (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/13/dining/131rrex.html?_r=1).

That particular article might require nytimes.com registration, but if you google for Ratatouille movie recipe you can find alternate versions as well.

Haven't tried it myself yet, though I make a more traditional ratatouille occasionally.

05-29-2008, 02:45 AM
I've made a gratin-style ratatouille (or maybe it's better called a tian of eggplant):

In a large casserole dish layer THIN slices of eggplant, onion, red and green peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini with plenty of slivered garlic, fresh thyme and oregano, kosher salt and pepper sprinkled on the layers. Dribble on LOTS of best virgin olive oil. Bake in a slow oven, about 300-325, and occasionally spoon off the juice that will accumulate in the dish. Bake for maybe 1-1/2 hours or so until it smells fantastic and the veggies are very soft and starting to brown on top. I don't think you can overcook this if you keep the temp low. Serve slightly warm or at room temp. Have plenty of good bread to serve with it. The juice you spooned off is the cook's treat -- at least with me, it is.

05-29-2008, 02:51 AM
Yep. I agree. The cook gets the tasters--and I am a sucker for juice sopped up with bread. Halfway through a slow cooked spaghetti sauce, I have two open faced spaghetti sauce sandwiches. NOM. It's usually my lunch. :D

05-29-2008, 05:26 AM
Celina! I love you! I really do! I'm going to the farmer's market on Friday and I'm making this over the weekend... to fill up my crepes :D

05-29-2008, 06:55 AM
That sounds delicious. My kind of meal. Thanks for putting that up.

05-29-2008, 07:10 AM
You're welcome! :) I'll post some more of Mom's recipes as soon as I translate them from French--and from the metric system.

Our family cookbook came to me when she died and it includes the recipes from her father's restaurant in Paris. I'll dribble them out a little at a time.

Glad you guys liked the recipe(s). I'm sure that somewhere my mom and her parents are very proud. :)

L M Ashton
05-29-2008, 03:20 PM
Nooooo! Don't change them from metric! Metric rules!

I love ratatouille. Because I modify all our recipes to taste, my ratatouille no longer resembles the original. :D Fahim hates zucchini, so those had to go *grumble*, I've never added alcohol, and now, on my lazy days, I add finely chopped boneless chicken. I also add a fair bit of red pepper (uh, like cayenne type stuff) to spice it up. Yeah, probably considered sacrilege, but it works for us. :)

06-14-2008, 07:48 AM
By the way, this ratatouille recipe was great! Even Finn loved it, and he's a bit touch and go with tomato based anything. So yummy!

If you ever need help with translating, let me know. It's sort of what I do, and I'd do it for free to get my grubby little mitts on some more of your family recipes :D