If you search online for “Ratatouille,” you’ll find some pretty fancypants recipes. They look lovely. The thing is, traditional Ratatouille really isn’t fancy. For hundreds of years, Ratatouille was understood to be a vegetable-based French country stew, made from whatever the cook’s garden happened to offer up for harvest that day. In that spirit, today’s Ratatouille recipe is both flexible and delicious! Save the silver and china for another dinner. 😉
Ingredients (Serves 6)
2 cups tomato sauce with garlic (jarred spaghetti sauce will work fine, or follow the directions below for a simple homemade sauce)
10 cups total of any combination of the following vegetables, cut bite-size: eggplant*, zucchini, okra, bell peppers, onions, leeks, potatoes*, carrots, yams
1 tablespoon herbes de provence
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
*If using eggplant, it is useful to sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the diced eggplant, let it sit for about 20 minutes, and then squeeze the water out of the diced eggplant. This helps to remove excess water and also bitterness. If using potatoes, it is useful to par-cook them in boiling water for about 3 minutes before draining and using in this recipe.
Step 1) [Skip to Step 2 if you are using jarred spaghetti sauce.] If you are making sauce from fresh tomatoes, coarsely chop 3 cups of tomatoes and add them to a pot (no need to remove seeds or peels). Add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1 teaspoon brown sugar. Simmer over low-medium heat, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for one hour. After one hour, add 3 cloves of freshly chopped garlic to the pot. Remove from heat and puree the mixture. Voila! Simple tomato sauce with garlic!
Step 2) Ladle 2 cups of tomato sauce with garlic into the bottom of a large, lightly greased casserole dish. Layer 1/3 of your vegetables (cut bite-size) over the sauce; sprinkle with 1/3 of the herbs de provence and 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese. Repeat with two more layers, until all ingredients are used up.
Step 3) Cover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for one hour. Remove from oven, uncover, and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.
So simple! So delicious!