Hailing from Provence in the south of France near the Mediterranean Sea, ratatouille is a bright and chunky summer vegetable stew, rich with olive oil and fragrant with garlic and herbs. So beautiful, it can be a little intimidating but trust us, it's a must-try! You'll be so glad you did.
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced or minced
- 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Black peppercorns, freshly ground to taste
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves, minced, plus whole leaves for garnish
- 2 medium zucchini, trimmed and slice into ⅙-inch rounds
- 2 yellow squash, trimmed and slice into ⅙-inch rounds
- 2 chinese eggplant, trimmed and slice into ⅙-inch rounds
- 3 small Yukon Gold potatoes (optional)
In France, ratatouille is typically cooked primarily on the stove, and we highly recommend this preparation technique. Each vegetable is cooked in olive oil until it's slightly tender and then combined to meld the flavors. A large cast-iron skillet is a perfect tool for ratatouille.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. In a skillet, heat ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until softened 8-10 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and a thyme sprig and simmer over low heat until the sauce has reduced about 10 minutes—season with salt and pepper. Discard the thyme sprig.
- While the sauce is reducing, prep the vegetables. Cut them into even slices of about 1/4-inch. A mandolin makes this step quick and easy.
- In your oven-safe skillet or baking dish, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce across the bottom.
- Arrange the sliced vegetables in an alternating pattern until you've arranged two tight circles, shingling more to fill the center. (Reserve any extra slices for another use; they're great to cook up in the morning for an omelet.)
- Cover with parchment paper and cook on the stovetop over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes.
- Uncover and drizzle with remaining ¼ cup olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until tender and golden, about 45 minutes.
- Garnish (optional) with a drizzle of the remaining tomato sauce, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.
Summer ratatouille is wonderful on it's own, or accompanied by soft, creamy polenta.
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