Ratatouille

by Anne Bennett on July 14, 2017

ratatouille-raw2

Happy Bastille Day! In honor of the French national holiday commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison in Paris on July 14, 1789, here’s a recipe for a Provencal vegetable stew that’s been a favorite of French cooks since the 16th century, when tomatoes, peppers and summer squash were brought over from the newly discovered Americas.

Recipes for ratatouille vary, but traditional ingredients always include tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and peppers. Summer is the optimum time to make truly remarkable ratatouille, as farmers’ markets are just now bursting with all of the ingredients.

Serve it as a main dish with pasta (try penne with turkey Italian sausage and freshly grated Parmesan cheese) or as a side dish with grilled chicken. It’s even good at room temperature. I’ve posted other ratatouille recipes on Hungry Poodle. Just enter “ratatouille” in the search box and you’ll find variations. One recipe includes white beans, another has butternut squash and a third, from a Weight Watchers cookbook, pairs ratatouille with pasta.

That’s frenchman Frederic Chopin in the background. Most likely he celebrated Bastille Day (he was born 20 years after the storming) and ate his share of ratatouille as well. His waltzes would be an appropriate accompaniment. Chopin and Ratatouille — French country living at its best.

2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 to 3 medium zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes and juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 t. dried thyme
1/2 cup fresh slivered basil

  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute.
  2. Add eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add 1/2 cup water, partially cover and simmer about 10 minutes until vegetables are almost tender.
  4. Add tomatoes and thyme. Continue simmering until vegetables are tender, another 15 minutes or so. Adjust seasoning and add fresh basil.

ratatouille-closeup

Note 1: I often substitute Herbes de Provence in place of the dried thyme. You can also use an Italian Herb seasoning if you want, but don’t forgo the fresh basil.

Note 2: for a delicious impromptu dinner, simmer 3 cups of ratatouille in a large nonstick skillet. Crack 4 eggs one at a time into a cup and gently tip each egg into indentations made with a spoon in the top of the ratatouille. Partially cover and cook just until the eggs are set to your liking. (I like my yolks runny.) Serve with a toasted slice of country bread. Yum.

 

Serves: 4 to 6
WW SmartPoints per serving: 2

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorraine Frazier July 14, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Anne,

I am so glad that you started this blog, it is outstanding ! I believe that it is what you are called to do — Amen sistah…

Lorraine

Margaret McMillen August 15, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Hi Anne: Received your post card today. Visiting your website for the first time tonight. Looks very impressive and informative. Will try some of the receipes since they look so delicious. I loved to cook and I collect cook books. I am writing down everything I am eating now. That is a good start for me and so far so good. I am not hungry and I am satisfied. Thanks for your encouragement.

Caryn Rubenstein August 20, 2009 at 11:46 am

Hi Anne – made some ratatuille this past week with my farmer’s market veggies. Used a WW recipe I had. Looked yours up and mine did not have thyme. I will give this recipe a whirl next time. Looking forward to weighing in tomorrow……see you then.

A two point toast to your website!!!

carol bitter August 4, 2017 at 4:07 pm

I asked to join your email list hope I can you have some great recipes and I am a weight watcher that has lost 68#

thank you

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