October 4, 2021
Traditionally, folks considered ratatouille peasants’ food because French farmers created this simple dish to use up an abundance of summer vegetables. However, ratatouille is now a dish much loved by anyone, like most dishes with a similar history – meatloaf and various stews, soups, and casseroles. Ratatouille even makes appearances on restaurant menus of all kinds, and of course, when you hear the name, a popular movie may come to mind and make you smile.
In this article, we’ll explain ratatouille and how to make it. We’ll also share ideas on what to pair it with and answer some ratatouille FAQs.
What is ratatouille?
Ratatouille is more than the endearing tale of a young chef and his rat companion. It’s an authentic dish that’s simple to make and delightful to eat. You can prepare a traditional French ratatouille recipe in two ways. One uses vegetables that you slice into rounds and layer around the pan in a circular pattern. The other is in the form of a stew where you cut the vegetables into chunks and cook them in a broth, as the recipe in this article will explain.
Reasons to love ratatouille
- It’s typically all vegetables, so ratatouille is a tasty way to use up some of the ones you grew in your garden or bought in bulk.
- Thanks to the vegetable content, it’s nutritious and low in calories.
- It’s full of deep, sweet, and savory flavors that will fill your home with fantastic aromas as you cook.
- The flavors deepen when eating leftover ratatouille.
- While it’s not the quickest meal to make, it’s a straightforward dish to prepare, and most of the cooking time is passive.
How to make ratatouille
This recipe for the best ratatouille makes eight servings, takes 15 minutes to prepare, and 45 minutes to cook, for a total time of 60 minutes.
1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 green pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large tomato, roughly chopped
28 ounces canned crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup roughly chopped basil
Pistou, for serving
Note: Pistou is a sauce that’s similar to pesto. You can make it by combining one medium clove of garlic with a quarter teaspoon of salt and six tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a blender. Add one cup of loosely packed basil leaves and blend again until you make a chunky sauce. Avoid over blending.
While this sauce is optional, it gives your ratatouille an extra pop of flavor and color.
- Prepare the eggplant, zucchini, pepper, and onion, and place them in a large bowl.
- Add two tablespoons of olive oil and one teaspoon of Kosher salt to the bowl and toss the ingredients to combine.
- Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Place half the vegetables from the bowl into the pan and cook them until they’re golden. Stir occasionally.
- Transfer the golden vegetables to a separate bowl.
- Turn the heat to medium and cook the second half of the vegetables the same way. You may need to add a splash of extra oil into the pan.
- Transfer these vegetables to the same bowl as the first half and set them aside.
- Add the minced garlic to the pan and stir for 10 seconds before adding the fresh tomatoes. Cook and stir for an additional 30 seconds.
- Pour in the canned tomatoes, including the juices. Add the cooked vegetables and the remaining salt.
- Bring the pan to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally. This will take about 30 minutes.
- Once you’re ready to serve the ratatouille, mix in the lemon juice and basil. Top it with the pistou.
If you’re short on time, you can use jarred marinara in place of making your own sauce with garlic and fresh tomatoes in steps eight and nine. Just add the store-bought sauce instead and heat until warm.
Nutritional values per serving
Total fat: 5.5 grams
Saturated fat: 0.8 grams
Carbohydrates: 9 grams
Fiber: 3.3 grams
Sugar: 4.8 grams
Protein: 1.6 grams
Original recipe: A couple cooks
Ratatouille pairs well with:
- Over a toasted baguette
- Italian sausage
- Roasted chicken
- Pork chops and pork tenderloin
To make ratatouille, you’ll need:
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Large skillet or cast-iron frying pan
- Spoon for stirring
- Two large mixing bowls
- Set of measuring spoons
To make the pistou you’ll need a small blender. You can also use a stick blender or a food processor.
Is ratatouille a main dish?
You can serve ratatouille as a main dish or as a side dish. As a main, you can eat it in a larger quantity alongside bread, over a baguette, or on pasta or rice. It makes a tasty addition to meals with sausage, chicken, pork, or fish.
Is ratatouille a lunch or a dinner?
Making ratatouille takes a bit of time, so preparing it on your lunch break is not ideal. If time allows, or you want to use up your leftovers, ratatouille makes an excellent lunch as well as a dinner.
Is there meat in ratatouille?
Typically, ratatouille recipes call for vegetables only. However, variations of ratatouille with a meaty twist also exist. Some variations include chunks of beef or ground beef in the stew version of the recipe. One creative variation layers slices of salami in with the vegetable medallions chefs use to create the alternative dish.
What do they make in the movie ratatouille?
Wondering how to make ratatouille like the movie? In the film, the chef prepares it differently by cutting the vegetables into medallions and layers them into the pan in a circular shape which is another way to make ratatouille. The method in this recipe results in a simpler and quicker but equally delicious version of the dish.
How long does ratatouille last in the fridge?
Ratatouille lasts in the fridge for up to five days in an air-tight container. To reheat it, place it into a saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly warm. Ratatouille also freezes well, which makes it an excellent candidate for pre-prepped meals. Once cooled, you can pour it into freezer bags or air-tight containers and store it for up to three months.
You will love this classic French dish as a main course or served alongside meat or starches. Served fresh, it’s perfect for a fancy weekend meal. Leftover, and you’ll be eating a gourmet lunch. If you want to try cooking ratatouille and find you’re out of ingredients, you can order groceries and more from Gopuff in seconds and have them at your door in a matter of minutes.