Ratatouille comes in many shapes and forms all over the world over. It typically consists of courgette (zucchini), aubergine (eggplant), onion, garlic, sweet bell pepper and tomatoes.
It’s basically a stew that can be served as a side dish or as part of a main meal with jacket potatoes, bread, rice or quinoa. There are many different ways to cook it and a plethora of variations. My way of creating this dish here, embraces simplicity, whilst retaining the natural vibrancy of the vegetables.
It’s the ideal thing to cook if you want to eat something tasty and quick.
I am using passata for my ratatouille. Passata is easy to find here in the UK and Europe. It is essentially pureed tomatoes that have been sieved or strained. However they have not been reduced down and concentrated like tomato paste or puree. Confusing I know! I’ve found passata in health food stores in North America under the name sieved or strained tomatoes.
If you can’t get hold of passata, then canned tomatoes work well instead. You can also use fresh, ripe, juicy tomatoes and bake them in the oven first – that would work as a great substitute.
Obviously different forms of tomatoes will have different effects… but that’s all part of the fun of it. Explore, play and let it dance. Just bear in mind that passata or crushed tomatoes will create an instant sauce. If you use whole tomatoes, then you’ll have to work them a little more.
Another other key ingredients in my ratatouille recipe is leek. I love leeks! A member of the onion family, they have their own distinct deliciousness that comes out to perfection when gently sautéed. If you don’t have leek, then simply use onion instead.
I do like to sautée the leek, pepper, aubergine for a few minutes to start with. It just brings out their amazing flavours… although I prefer not to over-do it either. For me it’s all about finding that perfect moment, where the flavours are beginning to burst out.
Most of the cooking then involves a gentle simmer with the sauce and other condiments, until everything is nicely cooked through.
OK – let’s make this!
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