I first learned how to make ratatouille when I moved to Dallas over five years ago (I can’t believe I’ve lived here for that long!). I took a knife skills class at Sur la Table, and our dish of the evening was ratatouille – which makes perfect sense because 90% of the time spent making ratatouille is spent on the cutting board. I learned how to hold the knife correctly, chop my vegetables evenly, and create this satisfying vegetarian dish that’s hearty enough to stand on its own as a weeknight meal.
There are plenty of variations of ratatouille out there, but this is the version I’ve stuck to over the years. I prefer to serve it over long grain white rice, but it could also be served over couscous or pasta.
Ratatouille (from Gourmet, June 1991)
1 onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 tablespoons olive oil
a 3/4-pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 small zucchini, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thin slices
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 pound small ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano (or goat cheese would be great as well)
Cook the onion & garlic in a large skillet in 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and heat it over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the eggplant and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened. Stir in the zucchini and the bell pepper and cook the mixture over the moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture, stirring occassionaly, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the oregano, the thyme, the coriander, the fennel seeds, the salt, and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the basil and combine the mixture well. Serve over your grain of choice, and top with freshly grated cheese.