Ratatouille, I’m off

Ratatouille: a cooked melange of summer vegetables that originated in Nice and is popular, in various versions, throughout the Mediterranean countries.

As with most country classics, there are as many recipes as there are cooks.

Everyone seems to agree on most of the ingredients:

  • Aubergine (eggplant)
  • Bell peppers, any color
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Courgette (zucchini)
  • Tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil

No one seems to agree on the proportions.

Some will add laurel (bay leaves), thyme, a splash of vinegar.

Some use canola oil; some olive oil.

Some will add a dab of tomato paste.

I have six French cook books.

I found six different recipes and methods of preparation.

One said to braise all of the ingredients separately, for varying lengths of time, and to combine, along with the fresh basil, a mere seconds before serving.

One said to throw everything together in a big pan and bake in a slow oven, undisturbed, for four or five hours.

One said to sauté everything and then simmer for 20 minutes.

One said to sauté some things but not others, and to simmer the whole lot for 1 hour undisturbed followed by 2 hours stirring every 10 minutes.

Suit yourself – this is how I do it.

And, yes, there is a lot of olive oil in it….

It’s not just a cooking medium, it’s part of the recipe and it’s a good fat.


Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 1 small – medium eggplant (aubergine), about 8oz, 240gr
  • 2 small – medium zucchini (courgette), about 14oz, 420gr, total
  • 1 1/2 large bell peppers, I used 1/2 green and 1 yellow
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 5 laurel (bay) leaves
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh thyme
  • big handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper  optional



  • Roughly chop the onions and peppers.
  • Mince the garlic.
  • Cube the eggplant.
  • Slice the zucchini in half the long way, then in 1/4″ slices.
  • Peel and roughly chop the tomato.
  • Heat 1 tbs oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until starting to brown.
  • Add garlic and sauté for a minute or two longer.
  • Put onions and garlic (and cooking olive oil) into a large pot.
  • Put the pot (with the onions) on low heat.
  • Return the skillet to heat and add 1 tbs oil.  Add peppers and sauté until starting to brown and blister.
  • Put peppers and olive oil on top of onions.
  • Return the skillet to heat and add 1 tbs oil.  Add zucchini and sauté until starting to brown and soften.
  • Put zucchini and olive oil on top of peppers.
  • Return the skillet to heat and add 1 tbs oil.  Add eggplant and sauté until starting to brown on all sides.
  • Put eggplant and olive oil on top of zucchini.
  • Put bay and thyme on top of eggplant.
  • Put tomatoes on top of herbs.
  • At this point you can add a bit of salt and pepper if you like.
  • Give it a gentle stir or two, cover and increase heat slightly until you hear it simmering.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.  Stir it every once in awhile.
  • When ready to serve, remove from heat, tear the basil leaves, stir in and serve.

Print Recipe

Remember all of those fun heirloom tomato seeds I got last spring?

I carefully planted and nurtured and labeled them so I would know what was what.

This slice is from an Ananas. Pretty isn’t it?

It’s also delicious.


Which is good because my Green Zebra turned out to be Ananas, as did the Lemon Boy and the Coeur du Beouf and the….

Well, you get the picture.

Out of 15 tomato plants I was supposed to have one Ananas. I have five.

They are pretty.

Next post from the other side of the pond.

Update: I just realized that this post was, according to WordPress, ‘missed’.

So, it;s a week late….

Travel, sigh….

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