Ratatouille season is here! The traditional end-of-summer French stew ratatouille is both entertaining to say (rat-tuh-TOO-ee) and entertaining to prepare. It is jam-packed with fresh food, including tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash.
We tried genuine French ratatouille this summer in Provence. I made a promise to myself that I would create my own preferred ratatouille recipe when I got home because I enjoyed some ratatouille more than others. Now is the time!
Ratatouille is typically prepared on the stove in Provence. In olive oil, each vegetable is cooked until it is appropriately soft. In order to merge the flavors, all of the ingredients are combined and cooked.
The French are skilled chefs, and this idea is unquestionably one to adopt. A significant number of late-summer vegetables with varying cook durations are combined in ratatouille. The eggplant would disintegrate by the time the zucchini is tender if you were to toss them all into a pot at once, and your ratatouille would probably never reach its full potential.
This recipe is somewhat unique. The vegetables will be roasted until their edges are beautifully caramelized and slightly dried out (no squeaky or mushy zucchini here). Then, we’ll incorporate those expertly roasted vegetables into a fresh tomato sauce that is simmering.
This process produces delicious ratatouille. It’s the greatest he’s ever tasted, according to my spouse. As it takes less time to prepare than traditional stovetop ratatouille, it is also simpler. Hooray!
Ratatouille: Five Reasons to Love It
It’s a fantastic way to use up extra late-summer vegetables. Make ratatouille if you have too much leftover from the farmers market when you get home.
With Ratatouille, ordinary vegetables become magical. Even if you don’t usually like summer squash or eggplant, I bet you’ll like this ratatouille.
Everyone can enjoy it because it is vegan and gluten-free. Simply make the appropriate accompaniment selections.
A excellent recipe to prepare ahead of time is ratatouille. It reheats well and tastes even better the next day. (Extra ratatouille can also be frozen for later.)
Make it a movie night and watch Ratatouille by Disney!
This recipe features traditional ratatouille ingredients, which are:
Fresh tomatoes are key for making ratatouille that tastes fresh and lively, not dull and heavy. We’ll grate the tomatoes (or blitz the in the food processor) and cook them with onion and garlic to make an irresistible tomato sauce.
I tried this recipe with canned tomatoes and it didn’t taste nearly as nice. You can do it if you have to (use one large 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes), but fresh tomatoes really are best.
Eggplant is known for being difficult to prepare, but it’s easy to roast! No salting necessary. The oven takes care of everything.
Zucchini & Yellow Squash
I love the visual combination of green zucchini and yellow squash. If you want to use two of one type instead of both, no problem.
Take your pick from red, orange or yellow bell pepper.
Extra-virgin olive oil deserves a shout-out. We’re only using as much as necessary, so this ratatouille is not greasy like some can be.
Tossing the vegetables lightly in oil raises their surface temperature, which helps us achieve those delicious caramelized edges. Finally, stirring a teaspoon of olive oil into the pot offers some extra richness and herbal flavor. Don’t skip it!
Fresh Basil & Seasonings
We’ll finish off our ratatouille with a handful of chopped basil, which livens up our stew with fresh flavor. We’ll also add a sprinkle of dried oregano—crumble it between your fingers as you add it to wake up the flavor. Then, add salt and pepper until your ratatouille tastes completely wonderful.
How to Make Ratatouille
You’ll find the full rundown in the recipe below. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe—it’s not hard. Here’s the gist:
- Prep your veggies and preheat the oven.
- Toss the eggplant with olive oil and salt on one baking sheet, and the squash and bell pepper on another baking sheet. Arrange the vegetables in an even layer. (Using two pans gives the vegetables room to breathe and lets us split the veggies by cook times.)
- Bake both pans in the oven at once, stirring halfway. The eggplant will finish sooner than the other pan.
- Meanwhile, make a simple tomato sauce on the stovetop. Stir the roasted vegetables into the simmering tomato sauce as they’re ready.
- Lastly, add fresh basil and seasonings. Serve immediately, or let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating for later.
- 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes (6 medium or 4 large)
- 1 medium eggplant (1 pound), diced into ½-inch cubes
- 1 large red, orange, or yellow bell pepper (about 8 ounces), cut into ¾-inch squares
- 1 medium-to-large zucchini (about 8 ounces), diced into ½-inch cubes
- 1 large yellow squash (about 8 ounces), diced into ½-inch cubes
- 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided, more to taste
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with one rack in the middle of the oven and one in the upper third of the oven. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper for easy clean-up, if desired.
- To prepare your tomatoes, remove any woody cores with a paring knife. Then, grate them on the large holes of a box grater into a bowl (this is easiest if you hold the tomato at a diagonal), and chop any remaining tomato skin. Or, blitz the tomatoes in a food processor until they are broken into a frothy pulp. Set aside.
- On one baking sheet, toss the diced eggplant with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until lightly coated. Arrange the eggplant in a single layer across the pan, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and set aside.
- On the other baking sheet, toss the bell pepper, zucchini and yellow squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer. Place the eggplant pan on the middle rack and the other vegetables on the top rack. Set the timer for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and caramelizing on the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Also read: Seriously Good Vegetable Soup
- Add the garlic, stir, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, and use a wooden spoon or sturdy silicone spatula to stir any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan into the mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low, or as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.
- Once 15 minutes are up, remove both pans from the oven, stir, and redistribute the contents of each evenly across the pans. This time, place the eggplant on the top rack and other vegetables on the middle rack.
- Bake until the eggplant is nice and golden on the edges, about 10 more minutes (the eggplant will be done sooner than the rest). Remove the eggplant from the oven, and carefully stir the eggplant into the simmering tomato sauce.
- Let the squash and bell pepper pan continue to bake until the peppers are caramelized, about 5 to 10 more minutes. Then, transfer the contents of the pan into the simmering sauce. Continue simmering for 5 more minutes to give the flavors time to meld.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon olive oil, the fresh basil and red pepper flakes. Crumble the dried oregano between your fingers as you drop it into the pot. Season to taste with additional salt (I usually add ¼ teaspoon more) and black pepper.
- Serve in bowls, perhaps with a little drizzle of olive oil, additional chopped basil, or black pepper on top (all optional). Like all stews, this ratatouille’s flavor improves as it cools. It’s even better reheated the next day. Ratatouille keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for 4 days, or for several months in the freezer.