Here we are, early Autumn, and all you gardeners out there are wondering what to do with the abundance of zucchini, eggplants and tomatoes in your gardens….and if you don’t have a garden, that’s fine, because right now, these vegetables are at their cheapest, so buy some.
Ratatouille is very forgiving, it doesn’t mind if there’s more zucchini than eggplant, it doesn’t mind if you forget the oregano, and it will even forgive being forgotten and left in the oven longer than you meant.
I love to slow cook it, getting all the flavours to really blend.
So put your oven on to 160C, get out your heavy, large ovenproof casserole dish, put a generous 40 ml or so of lovely olive oil in the bottom, warm it up with a couple of crushed garlic cloves and sliced onions, then add roughly chopped zucchini, capsicums, eggplant and tomatoes, (the juicy overripe ones are good for this) sprigs of thyme, rosemary, oregano and bayleaves, a tin of tomatoes if it looks like it needs it, plus 100 ml water.
Cover with baking paper, put the lid on and bake for 2 hours.
Remove from the oven, and if it’s all soft and delicious, stir, season and it’s done.
Now, eat it!
With chargrilled garlic rubbed bread
-As a shakshuka base with some fresh ricotta dotted around the eggs before baking
-As a pasta sauce, add some olives and capers if you have them
-With some cannellini beans or chickpeas added,served on quinoa, with a yoghurt labna you’ve stirred some mashed feta through
-As a base for roasted or BBQed chicken or lamb
Ratatouille also loves dukkah, za’atar, cumin seeds and powder,fresh lemon juice and zest, preserved lemons, chilli, and of course chopped fresh parsley, spring onions, coriander or chives
This week I made a huge pot and we had it 3 nights in a row; shakshuka, pasta and quinoa variations.