Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm making ratatouille... again

I first heard the word "ratatouille" while watching Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet, on PBS; he taught me how to pronounce the word.  He used about 40 steps and at least three pans making the stuff.  I had to cube the eggplant, mix it up with a bunch of salt, then put it in a colander in the sink to let it drain for, I don't know, an hour maybe.  I bought his book, and this was the only recipe I recall making from it.  But I made it over and over, then washed all those pans and the colander.  
Somewhere along the line I got rid of Jeff's book and lost the recipe.  
Several years went by with no ratatouille in our house; when I finally decided to make it again, lacking my original recipe, I checked my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and found a much simpler recipe.  It only uses one pan, and there's no colander or waiting for the eggplant to drain; it tastes every bit as good as the other stuff that was so much trouble to make.
I always double this recipe when I make ratatouille because Cliff and I are crazy about it.    

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups cubed, peeled eggplant
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices (1 1/2 cups) 
1 cup chopped, peeled tomato (2 medium) or one 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine, chicken broth, or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil or oregano 
1.  In a large skillet cook onion and garlic over medium heat till tender.  Stir in all other ingredients.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Uncover and cook about 5 minutes more or until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste.  

My cooking times are usually longer than given on this recipe, and I'm pretty generous with onion and garlic in most dishes I cook.  I leave the veggies in fairly large chunks. 
Cliff and I even like it cold.  

This is everything in the pan before cooking...

and here it is, almost done.  How could anyone not love such a dish?  Oh, and except for the salt and pepper, it all came out of my garden this morning, including the basil.   


  1. Wow. This takes me back.

    One of the only people who ever made ratatouille for me--and who introduced me and my family to the dish--was our Mom. I immediately fell in love with the dish.

    I'm sure there are an infinite number of variations on it but all I remember is how good it was. The mention of it at any time, now or any other, or, better yet, of course, having it, takes me back to her and my childhood.

    Great memories.

    It doesn't even matter that all the items decidedly did not come from a garden though I have to say, knowing that yours does, each time, sounds even more fantastic.

    Good for you. Enjoy.

    And thanks for the memories.

    Mo Rage
    KC Photog Blog

  2. Oh Yum! It looks delicious and I bet the smell is heavenly too!

  3. Mmmmm.... that loves delicious!

  4. ....looks delicious. I bet I'd love it!!!

  5. Lindie9:20 AM

    Did you grow the garlic? I need to grow some! I think you plant the bulbs in the fall? Do you serve it alone or with rice? Would it be good with some kind of dried beans? (need to get my protein in!

  6. Oops Lindie, I forgot about the garlic; no, I didn't raise it. I serve it with a meal as a vegetable dish, but Cliff took a big container to work with him the other day to serve as his main course. Honestly, the way I eat it most of the time is to get it out of the refrigerator when I'm hungry, put some in a dish, and eat it cold.

  7. Ooh, thank you so much for publishing your recipe! I've got a load of tomatoes and zucchini and was wondering what new-for-us thing I could do with them.


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