The first dish I ever made in culinary school was ratatouille. I remember like it was yesterday. We were working on our precision knife skills, so everything had to be sliced and diced to perfection. I had no idea how just a simple stew of summer vegetables could be so flavorful and satisfying.
If you’ve never tried ratatouille before, give it a chance. Now is the time to do it! Head to your local Farmer’s Market and stock up on all the beautiful produce that’s readily available this time of year.
If, like me, you are doubting whether this simplistic dish could be satisfying, get ready to be blown away. There’s something about cooking with the freshest seasonal produce available that makes flavors stand out. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that dishes don’t need to always be so fancy with exotic ingredients we can’t pronounce half the time. Totally not the case, especially here!
There are a million and one different “right” ways to make ratatouille. A lot of recipes insist on removing all the seeds from both the eggplant and tomato, however, that can incredibly time consuming and I’ve never really noticed a big difference with the seeds there. I love adding a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat as well!
- 3 large tomatoes, diced
- 2 zucchini, sliced and halved
- 2 summer squashes, sliced and halved
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small eggplant, chopped
- ½ cup fresh basil, minced
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4th tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Once hot, add the bell pepper, zucchini and summer squash and sauté for about six-eight minutes until just tender.
- Add the eggplant and tomatoes and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes until the mixture is thick and stew-like.
- Add half of the basil followed by the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir well, adding more seasoning if you desire.
- Serve ratatouille with additional fresh basil and crusty bread for dipping.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Jenna Weber is half of the Fresh Tastes blog team. She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2008 and, since then, has worked as a pastry chef, bread baker and freelance food editor. Currently, Jenna blogs full-time on EatLiveRun.com where her delicious daily recipes and quirky culinary musings appeal to thousands. She lives in Northern California and, when not in the kitchen, can usually be found on her yoga mat.