Typically — but not exclusively — ratatouille consists of roughly equal amounts of eggplant, zucchini and bell pepper, flavored with onion, garlic and herbs. Tomato is added in direct proportion to the cook’s tastes. What sets apart the various ratatouille-ish treatments are the choice of vegetables, the size and shape of the cuts, and the method of cooking. Feel free to use whatever variety of these vegetables you like and don't get too hung up on having equal portions of each.
This recipe is by James P. DeWan and was originally published in The Chicago Tribune.
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled, cut into medium (½-inch) or large (¾-inch) dice
- Salt as needed
- 1/2 large onion, small dice
- 1-2 green or yellow bell peppers, cut into medium (½-inch) or large (¾-inch) dice
- 2 medium summer squash (zucchini, golden squash, etc.), cut into medium (½-inch) or large (¾-inch) dice
- 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes or 4 to 6 fresh tomatoes, cut into medium dice (½-inch)
- 1-2 Tablespoon fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, basil, herbs de Provence, etc., or a mix), or 1 ½ teaspoons dried
- Freshly ground black pepper
Step 1: Heat a heavy bottomed skillet or stock pot over medium high heat. When hot, add 3 tablespoons oil and let heat, about 15 seconds. Add 1 diced eggplant, season with salt, and saute until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
Step 2: Add more oil if needed, then add 1/2 diced onion and 1-2 diced peppers; saute until onions are just starting to color and peppers are tender, about 2 minutes.
Step 3: Add 2 diced squash; saute until tender, about 3 minutes.
Step 4: Add 2-4 cloves minced garlic; saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Step 5: Stir in half a can of tomatoes and reserved, cooked eggplant along with 1-2 tablespoons herbs, salt to taste and several grinds of pepper. Add remaining tomato if you want and when liquid starts to bubble, reduce heat and simmer to blend flavors, about 10 minutes.
Step 6: Check seasoning, then serve immediately or hold, refrigerated, up to 5 days. May be served hot or at room temperature.