12 September, 2010

September recipe: Ratatouille

This is a delectable vegetable stew that makes full use of late summer vegetables – sweet peppers, courgettes, tomatoes, aubergines. Serve it with grilled pork or lamb chops, or add cooked haricot beans and serve with fresh bread for a vegetarian meal. It freezes well, so you can make it in the late summer when the fresh ingredients are plentiful and thaw it for a reminder of summer in the middle of winter.

Ratatouille (serves 4)

1 lb (approx 450 g) courgette* (green or yellow or a mixture)
1 lb (approx 450 g) aubergine**
4 Tablespoons (4 x 15 ml spoon) olive oil
1 onion
3 large cloves garlic
1 red pepper
1 lb (approx 450 g) tomatoes
1 Tablespoon (1 x 15 ml spoon) fresh basil (or other herbs of your choice)

Chop the courgette and aubergine into approximately 2 cm cubes. Sprinkle with salt and leave for 30 minutes. Then rinse the courgette and aubergine in a bowl of cold water to wash off the salt, and drain on kitchen paper.

Peel and chop the onion. Crush the garlic. Remove the seeds from the red pepper and chop.

Chop the tomatoes. You can peel them if you like, but I never do. Tinned tomatoes are not as nice in this recipe as fresh ones, so use fresh tomatoes if at all possible.

Fry the onion and garlic gently in the olive oil in a large saucepan until softened and starting to colour. Add the courgette, aubergine and red pepper.

Put a lid on the pan and simmer over a low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Add the chopped tomatoes and chopped herbs, and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Stir well.

Simmer for another 30 minutes or so over a low heat until the vegetables are almost disintegrating.

Serve with grilled lamb or pork chops, or add cooked butter beans (or haricot beans or canellini beans) for a vegetarian casserole. It goes particularly well with fresh bread to mop up the juices. If using beans, approximately 1.5 oz (approx 40 g) per person of dried beans is about right, soaked overnight and then cooked for about an hour in boiling water.

*Also called zucchini
**Also called eggplant


Constance Brewer said...

Awesome. I was thinking I needed to make something different, but traditional, and here it is. Not complicated looking either. Thanks, Carla!

Carla said...

You're welcome! It's not complicated, and it's one of those recipes with at least as many variations as cooks, so feel free to modify it as you see fit.
Just off to go and cook it now :-)

Misfit said...

Oh, I'll have to try this, but without the red meat on the side. That's a no-no these days :)

Marg said...

Ratatouille is one of my favourite meals. I usually serve it with cous cous, and sometimes with lamb as well.

Healthy, easy and tasty!

auryx said...

Wow, I've just stumbled across your awesome blog, amazing! Almost as much info about Olde England as a whole series of "Time Team" ;-) Thank you very much for all the effort you put into this, I'll keep visiting.

Ps. and the recipes look good too...

Carla said...

Misfit - the version with the beans is very good, or I daresay it would go well with something like chicken breast, if red meat is out.

Marg - healthy, easy and tasty is a perfect description :-)

Auryx - Hello and welcome! I'm glad you find the blog interesting. If you have any questions, just ask.

Unknown said...

I'm taking a fall week off from work to go to the my country camp. I am clipping your recipes as I will finally have some QT to prepare meals and I just ordered a hard copy of your novel Paths of Exile..

I'm a big fan of historical fiction so I'm looking forward to it.

I've said it before but I agree with Auryx... TY!

Carla said...

Daniel - you're welcome. Thank you for ordering Exile, and I hope you enjoy it. Have a great time at your country camp!

Unknown said...

I must say a good author keeps the reader wanting more. I was looking forward to the battle of Eboracum, or the Deira annexation, as their is quite a bit of historical leeway. Although [frustrated] that you didn't expand the battle out in all it's glorious detail, I do see why you did not and instead gave us little snippets for the next several chapters. Leave some to the imagination as well!

Very interesting read thus far.

Carla said...

Daniel - Glad to hear you're enjoying it so far!