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Monday, June 4, 2012

Ratatouille - French Vegetable Stew

Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish and said to be originated in Nice. The key ingredient is tomatoes and has onion, garlic, eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and a mix of green herbs (Basil,  rosemary, thyme). Some use the 'herbes de Provence'  which contain savory, fennel, basil, thyme and lavender flowers.

I love cooking with  fresh herbs and this dish also allows me to use the beautiful and colorful summer vegetables. Ratatouille could be served as a meal on its own or as a side dish. To me this dish could be described as " Summer in a Bowl". Also this gave me the opportunity to use fresh herbs (basil and rosemary) from my small  patio garden. 

Ingredients :

  • 1 large eggplant cubed
  • 1 zucchini  cut into 1/4 " slices
  • 2 green bell peppers cubed
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 4 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 6-7 fresh basil leaves 
  • 1-2 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste

Preparation :

  • Heat Olive oil in a pan. Add onion and garlic and sauté for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the eggplant. Stir it well. It is kind of shallow frying them so each of the vegetable is coated with olive oil. Do the same with zucchini, followed by bell pepper.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes and herbs. Season it with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low flame until the vegetables are cooked. Don't cook it too long as the vegetables will all become mushy. Just cook it long enough(15-20 minutes) to be able to  identify the different vegetables. 
  • This recipe serves 4. You could serve it with some garlic bread or rice.