Sharing stuff I've learned, and things I've thought about...

Steve’s Ratatouille

I made this dish several times, using different ingredients with mediocre results, and finally realized that the key to good ratatouille is the technique. It isn’t enough to simply throw the vegetables into a pot as you would a soup or stew. They must be subjected to a hot dry heat, traditionally by sautéing. However, always looking for the easy way to accomplish anything, I decided to try roasting instead as it’s easier, makes less mess and in my opinion, works as well or better than sautéing.

The ingredient list is an amalgam of a number of different recipes I’ve encountered, and seems (in my experience) to yield the rich, savory results that I’d been seeking. However, this is one of those dishes that you can experiment with to your hearts’ content, adding more of this and less of that or throwing in something completely different. The central component to all ratatouille recipes is eggplant, tomatoes and usually some kind of squash such as zucchini.

  • 2 large eggplants, peeled and diced into 1” cubes
  • 1 large zucchini squash, cut in ½ inch slices
  • 3 anchovy filets, mashed
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 28-oz cans whole or diced tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 each red and green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 dried Ancho pepper, crushed & chopped
  • 1 T chopped fresh basil or 2 T of pesto
  • 1 T chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 3T Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper

Toss zucchini and peppers in 2 T olive oil. Add eggplant and continue to toss until all are coated with oil. Spread onto two jelly-roll pans, sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper and place in a 500 degree oven. As black spots appear on the vegetables, turn with a spatula until all the vegetables have softened.

While roasting the vegetables, sauté the onions in olive oil on high heat until slightly caramelized, then add the garlic and continue sautéing until the garlic is fragrant – about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and deglaze the pan with the red wine.

Add the anchovies, dried pepper, tomatoes, thyme, basil, and roasted vegetables, and bring to a simmer, adding a cup or two of water until the vegetables are just barely covered. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until flavors have blended and all vegetables have cooked down into a thick stew. Add the balsamic vinegar at the end of the simmering, or add a few drops to each bowl to taste.

142 Calories per 300 g serving