Ratatouille

The word “ratatouille” is French for “mix”. This recipe claims to follow the traditional way of cooking this dish: each ingredient being fried separately before the final simmering.
“The secret of a good ratatouille is to cook the vegetables separately so each will taste truly to itself” Joël Robuchon.
Don’t overcook your vegetables, it is common, it happens to me when I’m doing five things (usually more!) at the same time. Be careful and attentive to your beautiful dish. You won’t regret it! I made this recipe more than a dozen times. We just love it! The kids love it too, and they often ask for it. :))
The ratatouille can be served as a side dish, or with rice, pasta or on a thick crusty slice of bread.

Bon Appetit!

Ratatouille

Adapted from The Food of France. A journey for food lovers.
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
1 yellow capsicum, diced
1 eggplant, diced
2 zucchini, diced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon sugar
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of basil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped parsley


Directions
Scale and prep all the ingredients.
You will need a large frying pan.

Peel the tomatoes: you have two options for that.
The first option: bring a pot of water to a boiling stage. Score a cross in the top of each tomato and plunge them in the boiling water for 20 seconds. The skin should come out easily.
The second option: Peel the tomato with a serrated peeler. it’s easy, fast and clean. You won’t burn you fingers handling the tomatoes after their spa treatment in the hot water! :) hahahaha Chop the peeled tomatoes roughly.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and cook over low heat until soft. Add the capsicums and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove the onion and capsicums from the pan. Set aside.
Fry the eggplant until all sides are lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Fry the zucchini until browned and then return the onion, capsicums and eggplant to the pan. Add the tomato paste, stir well delicately, making sure not to “smash” the vegetables too much. At this point they are soft and will lose their shape if you don’t handle them with care, specially the eggplant. Cook for two minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar, bay leaf, thyme and basil. Season with salt and pepper (to your taste). Stir well (again! with grace and attention!) cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, thyme and basil.
Mix together the garlic and parsley and add to the ratatouille at the last minute.
Serve.

If you want a lighter and more “late-nigh-digestion-friendly” version of the ratatouille, just skip the last step; don’t put the garlic and the parsley.