Ratatouille

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This vegetable stew from the South of France is a celebration of summer vegetables at the height of their ripe seasonality.

Ratatouille
Photo: Photo by Kelsey Hansen / Food Styling by Greg Luna / Prop Styling by Stephanie Hunter
Active Time:
1 hrs 35 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 5 mins
Servings:
6

 

Rebekah Peppler's ratatouille, a deeply personal recipe, relies on a simple technique for creating a richly flavorful dish: cooking each vegetable separately. After just a few minutes in the pan, the vegetables release water, deepen in flavor, and become just tender enough to begin to break down. Finishing the stew with a generous portion of rosé melds the flavors together.

What Is Ratatouille?

Ratatouille is a mixed vegetable stew from Provence, in the south of France. It was created in Nice, France, and is a way to celebrate the harvest of late-summer vegetables in a budget-friendly dish. Ratatouille is traditionally made with tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions, and eggplant when they are at the peak of their season at the same time. Garlic, thyme, and basil are often added to the mix as well.

How Do You Make Ratatouille?

Some cooks cook all the vegetables together, while others cook each separately to the desired texture, then combine everything, as Pepplar advises here. However you cook it, you want the vegetables to soften without turning into an indistinct bowl of mush.

How Do You Serve Ratatouille?

Ratatouille was originally eaten as a main dish, but it can be served with chicken, lamb, seafood, or any protein. You can serve it warm or at room temperature over pasta or polenta, spooned over bread, in a sandwich, folded into an omelet, or in a tart or as a pie. While you can eat ratatouille the day you make it, it is even better the next day, after the flavors have had a chance to meld.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium (1-pound) eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 11 cups)

  • 3 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt (such as La Baleine), divided, plus more to taste

  • ¾ cup mild extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more as needed

  • 2 medium (8-ounce) zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 1/2 cups)

  • 2 medium-size (8-ounce) yellow onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 2/3 cups)

  • 2 medium-size (8-ounce) red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)

  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)

  • 3 small beefsteak tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)

  • 6 to 8 (4-inch) basil sprigs, to taste

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

  • ¼ cup rosé

  • 3 tablespoons premium extra-virgin olive oil (such as Laudemio), plus more if desired

Directions

  1. Place eggplant pieces in a colander. Sprinkle eggplant with 2 teaspoons salt, and toss to combine. Let stand 20 minutes. Working in batches, pat eggplant dry with paper towels. Heat 1/4 cup mild olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium. Add eggplant, and cook, stirring often, until eggplant is tender but not falling apart, 12 to 15 minutes, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons additional oil as needed if eggplant sticks to bottom of skillet. Remove from heat. Transfer eggplant to a large bowl. Do not wipe skillet clean.

  2. Return skillet to heat over medium, and add 2 tablespoons mild olive oil. Add zucchini, and cook, stirring often, until zucchini is very tender and just turns translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat, and transfer zucchini to bowl with eggplant. Do not wipe skillet clean. Return skillet to heat over medium, and add 2 tablespoons mild olive oil. Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add bell peppers, 2 tablespoons mild olive oil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until bell peppers are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in garlic, and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer bell pepper mixture to bowl with eggplant mixture. Do not wipe skillet clean.

  3. Return skillet to heat over medium. Add tomatoes, basil sprigs, crushed red pepper (if using), remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons mild olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down and most tomato juices evaporate, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in rosé; cook, stirring often, until rosé is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Return reserved eggplant mixture to skillet; cook over medium, stirring often to prevent sticking, until flavors meld and mixture is creamy but textured, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Drizzle ratatouille with premium olive oil. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Season with additional salt to taste. Remove and discard basil sprigs. Serve warm or at room temperature with a drizzle of premium olive oil over each serving, if desired.

Make Ahead

Ratatouille may be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days.

Suggested Pairing

Lively Languedoc rosé: Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses.

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