French Provence Ratatouille

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On March 27, 2019

Ratatouille is a well-known vegetable stew hailing from Provence, a region in France famous for the bounty of its produce. It’s no surprise then that this stew is a celebration of hard-working farmers and the fruits of their labor. It’s common to find eggplant, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, garlic, and herbs all cooked slowly in olive oil in this hearty and comforting staple. The ingredients may vary from recipe to recipe, but these are the essentials.

The word ratatouille comes from the French verb touiller, which means, “to stir up.” While this may imply a set method, there is actually a debate as to the right way of cooking it. Either way, you decide to make this delectable dish “Bon Appetit!”

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large globe eggplant, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • ¾ cup olive oil, divided
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 large onion, halved, sliced ½ inch thick
  • 1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup torn basil leaves
  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400°. Toss eggplant, zucchini, and 2 Tsp. salt in a colander. Let sit 30 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.

    2. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy ovenproof pot over medium-high. Add half of eggplant and zucchini and cook, stirring constantly, until vegetables begin to take on color, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with ¼ cup oil and remaining eggplant and zucchini.

    3. Tie thyme sprigs together with kitchen twine. Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in the same pot and cook onion, bell pepper, garlic, and thyme, stirring occasionally, until onion is beginning to brown and is softened, 8–10 minutes. Add half of tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini and eggplant, then top with remaining 1-pint tomatoes (do not stir); season with salt and pepper. Transfer pot to oven and roast until all vegetables are softened and tomatoes have begun to burst, 15–20 minutes.

    4. Remove thyme bundle. Transfer to a serving platter and top with basil.

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