Ratatouille, a classic French Provencal vegetable casserole, is a beautifully simple, yet delicious dish to prepare and serve.
It can be eaten with steamed rice - or simply on its own with French bread - as a complete meal, as a first course, or as a vegetable accompaniment to meat or fish.
The cooking time given here will leave the vegetables 'intact'; however, if you prefer them to be softer, cook for a further 15-20mins, stirring the mixture occasionally.
- 1 oz. [2 tablespoons] butter
- 2 fl. oz [1/4 cup] olive oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 medium sized aubergines [eggplants], thinly sliced and degorged
- 1 large green pepper, white pith removed, seeded and chopped
- 1 large red pepper, white pith removed, seeded and chopped
- 5 medium sized courgettes [zucchini], trimmed and sliced
- 14 oz. canned peeled tomatoes
- Herbes de Provence to taste [or 1 teaspoon each dried basil and dried rosemary]
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Melt the butter with the oil over a moderate heat in a large flameproof casserole.
When foam subsides, add onions and garlic and fry for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and translucent but not brown.
Add aubergine [eggplant], green and red peppers and courgettes [zucchini] to casserole and fry for 5 minutes, shaking the casserole frequently.
Add tomatoes with the can juice, Herbes de Provence or the basil and rosemary plus salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the parsley.
Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover casserole and simmer for 30-40 minutes, OR until vegetables are tender but still quite firm.
N.B. Vegetables must not be 'mushy', so be careful not to overcook.
Remove from heat and serve at once, straight from the casserole.