Ratatouille

Ratatouille

By
From
How I cook
Serves
6
Photographer
Jason Lowe

I have always loved ratatouille. To me, it is a dish that suggests generosity and tastes of sunshine. And it is full of things I adore – aubergines, peppers and lots of basil. I prefer to cut the vegetables into fairly generous pieces and cook them gently, for longer than is usual – I find this allows their natural sweetness to shine, without compromising the individual flavours. It may sound like a contradiction, but somehow this dish manages to be punchy and mellow at the same time. It is good warm, but I think it is even better served at room temperature.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra to drizzle
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
small bunch thyme
3 bay leaves
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 aubergine
2 red peppers
1kg ripe small tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
5 courgettes
bunch basil (ideally purple), leaves only

Method

  1. Warm the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions, thyme and bay leaves with a pinch of salt and sweat gently for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then to prevent the onions from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  2. While the onions are cooking, prepare the other vegetables. Halve the aubergine lengthways, then cut each piece into half-moon slices, 2cm thick. Halve the peppers lengthways and discard the core and seeds, then cut roughly into 2.5cm squares. Chop the tomatoes roughly into chunks.
  3. Add the aubergine and red peppers to the onions in the pan along with the garlic and stir to combine. Now add the tomatoes to the pan and turn the heat down as low as possible. Put the lid on the pan and cook for 40 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  4. Cut the courgettes into chunky rounds and add them to the pan. Put the lid back on and cook very gently for a further 30 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  5. Just before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a few grinds of pepper. Tear in the basil leaves and drizzle over a little extra olive oil.
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