It’s time to eat your veggies and there’s no better way than this classic French ratatouille recipe.
This ratatouille recipe is part three of our five-part weekly series on classic French cooking in partnership with All-Clad Canada – without this 4 quart braiser pan this would not be possible. Don’t miss our Red Wine Braised Short Ribs recipe and how to cook duck breasts like a French chef.
Classic French recipes seem intimidating because they require specific techniques but that’s what makes a cook. Perhaps you don’t try this mid-week because it requires a whole lot of chopping but ratatouille is a great Sunday afternoon recipe listening to great music and maybe even having a glass of wine…or two.
While it’s considered a summer dish found throughout the Mediterranean coast it’s also great in colder weather because it’s warm and comforting without the heaviness of braised meats or stews.
Plus it’s a one-pot recipe so if you’re a lazy dishwasher like I am it makes Sunday evenings so much better!
Our ratatouille recipe is a bit different.
Many great French cooks will say that you need to sautee each vegetable separately to enhance flavours. They argue they won’t fit in a pot raw and therefore steam instead of brown.
Screw that. Ratatouille is a country dish and cooking each vegetable separately would take far too long. It’s why we love our braising pot, with 4 quarts you can layer the vegetables and they cook beautifully.
Where Does Ratatouille Come From?
Ratatouille is a traditional Provencal stewed vegetable dish from Nice, like most of the world’s best dishes it is a rustic peasant dish. While the authentic recipes tout specific vegetables this is really a dish for whatever vegetables are in season.
Although the Disney movie made the dish once again popular it’s technically not authentic, the recipe used is Confit Byaldi, which you can find in The French Laundry Cookbook.
But vegetable stews have been around for ages, before ratatouille existed there was Bohémienne de légumes which only uses eggplants and tomatoes.
Not surprisingly around the world you’ll find many similar dishes to ratatouille, like the Catalan samfaina, Majorcan tombet, Greek tourlou, Turkish briam.
- 1L fresh tomato sauce
- 20 basil leaves
- 1 large red pepper, sliced in rings
- 1 medium red onion, sliced in rings
- 1 yellow zucchini, sliced in rings
- 1 green zucchini, sliced in rings
- 1 eggplant, sliced in rings
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5 tablespoons dry oregano
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Spread ¾ of tomato sauce into a pan that will fit all of your vegetables.
- Begin to layer vegetables (i.e. tomato, then zucchini, then pepper) in a clockwise rotation beginning in the centre and moving outward. Don't worry about the order of the vegetables as you'll have more slices of some things than others.
- Fill in any gaps between the vegetables with remaining tomato sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and dry oregano. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake uncovered for one hour.
Other Ways to Use Ratatouille
You can eat ratatouille on its own as a side dish but it’s so versatile in other dishes, you can add it to pasta, or top it with an egg. It’s also amazing on great French bread.
Are there any other classic French recipes you love? Share them in the comments below.