Ratatouille (pronounced rat-a-too-ee) is a traditional French dish made by stewing vegetables. It’s usually served as a side dish, but it can also be a meal in itself (accompanied by pasta, rice or bread). We cook the vegetables separately first to make sure they keep their individual flavours.
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
3 cloves garlic
Large handful of basil leaves
6 x 5ml spoons olive oil
1 x 400g can plum tomatoes
3 x 15ml spoons red wine vinegar (optional)
1½ x 5ml spoons sugar
Black pepper (optional)
- Wash the aubergine, courgettes and peppers thoroughly. Cut the ends off the aubergine and courgettes and trim the stalks from the peppers.
- Cut the courgettes into 1cm thick slices and the aubergine into 2cm dice. Remove and discard the seeds from the peppers and cut the flesh into 3cm chunks.
- Peel and finely chop the onion and peel and crush the garlic. Tear the basil leaves.
- Heat 2 x 5ml spoons of oil in the saucepan on a medium heat, add the aubergine and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the aubergine from the pan using a slotted spoon and place on a layer of kitchen roll on a plate to cool.
- Add another 2 x 5ml spoons of oil to the saucepan and cook the courgettes on both sides for 2 minutes so that they start to brown lightly but are not too soft. Remove the courgettes from the pan to cool.
- Repeat the process with 1 x 5ml spoon of the oil and the peppers until they are cooked through – but do not cook for any longer than 3 minutes. Remove from the saucepan and set aside to cool.
- Add the onion and garlic to the same saucepan with the last 5ml spoon of oil and cook for about 4 minutes or until they are soft.
- Open the can of plum tomatoes and stir them into the onions and garlic. Reduce the heat and use the wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes into smaller pieces.
- Add the red wine vinegar (if using), the sugar and half the torn basil. Cook gently, stirring, for 2–3 minutes.
- Add the cooked aubergine, courgettes and peppers to the saucepan of tomatoes and add black pepper to taste (if using). Stir through for 1 minute. Cover and cook on a low heat for 10–15 minutes.
- Scatter the remaining basil leaves on top of the Ratatouille before serving.
Skills used include:
Washing, measuring, peeling, chopping, crushing, boiling/simmering and frying
- To make sure your ratatouille is not mushy use nice big chunks of vegetables, but keep the sizes consistent so they cook evenly. Be careful not to overcook the vegetables initially, because they will be cooked again together at the end.
Something to try next time
- This recipe is brilliantly flexible. Add extra fresh or canned tomatoes and basil and serve as a tasty pasta sauce with some fresh Parmesan cheese grated over.
- If you like you can finish this off in the oven rather than on the hob – some people prefer the flavour that comes from baking the vegetables and it gives you a chance to do other things before you serve up. After cooking each vegetable individually in the saucepan, add them one by one to a high-sided roasting tray or ovenproof dish with a lid. At the end of step 9, pour the tomato mixture over the vegetables and bake in the oven at 190°C/170°C fan or gas mark 5 for 30 minutes.
Prepare now, eat later
- Any leftovers can be frozen and used as a quick no-fuss dinner. Defrost and reheat until bubbling hot.