Written by Dave Harrison, this Meat-Free Monday recipe comes from quality cookware brand Le Creuset.
Ratatouille is not just a Pixar film, but a great vegetable based dish made from delicious summer vegetables, and a great choice for vegans. Traditionally, Ratatouille was a dish originating in French Provencal that was made from the summer vegetables that are abundant that region.
Many of you will see a mere side dish; but ratatouille can be much more than that. This recipe serves 4 as a main dish, and goes great with a baked potato, or homemade pasta. This has the added benefit of being great for freezing, which is a godsend for busy people.
- 12 large ripe plum tomatoes
- 10 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 large aubergines (eggplant), tops removed and diced 3-4cm (1¼-1½ inch) thick
- 6 courgettes (zucchini), tops removed, halved lengthways and sliced 2cm (¾ inch) thick
- 3 red peppers, tops removed, deseeded and roughly diced into 3-4cm (1¼-1½ inch) pieces
- 3 yellow peppers tops removed, deseeded and roughly diced into 3-4cm (1¼-1½ inch) pieces
- 4 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 6 tablespoons tomato puree
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons dried Herbs de Provence
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 4 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley
- 5 x 1 litre (1¾ pint) plastic food boxes with lids or large freezer bags and ties
To prepare the tomatoes
1. Fill a pan with 2½-3 litres of water and bring to the boil.
2. Score across the base of each tomato with a sharp knife.
3. Plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds then remove, with a slotted spoon, and put into a bowl to cool. Empty the preserving pan.
4. Once cool peel away the tomatoes’ skin and discard, roughly chop the flesh discarding any woody parts and set to one side until required.
To make the Ratatouille
1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the preserving pan over a low to medium heat.
2. Fry the aubergine until slightly browned, remove with a slotted spoon and set to one side. Repeat the process with the courgettes and then the peppers but reducing the olive oil to 2 tablespoons each time.
3. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and fry the onions and garlic until softened.
4. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, bay leaves, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
5. Stir in the semi-cooked vegetables and cook for a further 15 minutes over a low to medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent sticking and achieve an even distribution of heat. Add the parsley 2-3 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
6. Check the seasoning, add a little salt if necessary. Spoon equal portions into the freezer boxes or bags.
7. Put on the lids or ties and allow cooling before placing into the freezer. Best used within 6 months of freezing. Once defrosted keep chilled and use within 48 hours.
Dave Harrison is writing on behalf of Le Creuset. Dave is a British food lover, who advocates the use of locally sourced products, and can often be found either in the kitchen or at local farmers markets.