Ratatouille is a superhealthy classic French vegetarian dish which counts as 4 of your 5-a-day – parfait! I have just made a huge batch of it so that I have no excuse not to eat something healthy now and again as well as to save some money by cooking in bulk. It tastes pretty damn fine so for that reason I thought it would be nice to share my recipe and cooking instructions with you all. The following ingredients creates 4 very large portions or 6-7 normal sized portions.
- 1 large aubergine
- 2 medium courgettes
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 red pepper
- 1 onion
- 1 red onion
- x3 cloves of garlic (peeled and crushed)
- handful of fresh basil (or dry equivilent)
- x3 tins of chopped or peeled tomatoes
- extra virgin olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- tomato puree
- pinch of sugar (any kind)
- salt & pepper for seasoning
Chop the onion and red onion into chunks and cook in a frying pan on a low heat with olive oil for around 10 minutes.
As the onions start to soften add the 3 cloves of crushed garlic.
Chop the aubergines, courgettes and peppers into chunks. Add to a separate large saucepan and begin to cook on a low heat in tablespoon of oil.
Prepare the remaining ingredients. The next thing to add to the saucepan of vegetables is the tins of tomatoes. I initially purchase x2 tins of peeled tomatoes but on adding to the dish I felt it wasn’t juicy enough so I had to borrow an extra tin of chopped tomatoes from my housemate. It doesn’t matter what type of tin tomatoes you chose to add, but the amount depends on how saucy you’d like your ratatouille to be.
Once the tomato is mixed into the saucepan it’s time to add the onions and garlic and mix it all together. You can turn the heat up a little now so that the mixture cooks all the way through and heats all the ingredients. Next thing to do is to add the basil. I prefer using fresh basil as I think the flavour is more noticeable. Grab a handful of the basil leaves and chop finely. Courtesy of my Mother, I have a herb chopping knife – a rarity in a student house though! Finely chop the herbs and add to the saucepan, mixing in well.
Adding extra flavouring and seasoning to your ratatouille is down to your personal taste preferences. I firstly add two desert spoons of Red Wine Vinegar followed by a decent crunching and sprinkling of salt and pepper. Mix again and have a quick taster of the sauce. Today I also added a dash of sugar to sweeten the sharpness of the tomatoes.
Let the ratatouille cook on a medium heat for at least 10 minutes, the longer you cook it for the more the liquid will reduce but the more the flavour will mature! Do not cook for longer than 20 minutes otherwise the vegetables might begin to break apart.
My serving suggestions include the following carbs, Gnocchi, Flatbreads, Baked Potatoes etc. For you meat lovers I’d recommend serving with Pork Chops or Chorizo Sausages. Ratatouille can be frozen, I recommend dispatching into 4-5 plastic containers which you can plonk in the microwave when you’re ready to defrost and reheat.
How easy was that? A super-healthy, warming, 4 of your 5 a day meal. Voilà! as the French would say.
P.S. Sorry for the pretty awful photo quality throughout – I used my iPod Touch instead of usual SLR!