Oven-Roasted Ratatouille

I adore ratatouille but, more often than not, am sorely disappointed when ordering it at a restaurant. Undercooked, overcooked, under seasoned, watery – you name it, I have paid for it.  I have much better luck in France but am only there a few times a year so have resorted to making my own.  Key, as for many dishes, is using fresh ingredients.  But, I like ratatouille year round.  To adjust for bland, out-of-season produce, I have taken to roasting the vegetables and slowly cooking everything together on the stove to meld and deepen the flavors.  Using this method, it can be frozen for months and still taste amazing.  I submitted my recipe during a competition at Hiltl, the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe, and won!  My dish was cooked by the chefs and served to customers as part of their delicious, impressive buffet.

Here is a step-by-step description of how to make this easy and nutritious dish.  A printable text-only recipe is at the bottom of the post.

Basic ratatouille ingredients can include zucchini, eggplant, onions, garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers, olive oil and fresh or dried herbs.

Begin by cutting off the base and stem of the eggplant.  Peel (if very fresh, skin can be left on) and cut into small, bite size pieces.  Place in a bowl and toss with just enough olive oil to very lightly coat everything.  Sprinkle with salt and place on a baking sheet pan.  I like to line my  pan with a non-stick liner or quick release foil.

Bake in a  preheated  425ºF / 220º C oven until nicely browned, but not burned.

Cut the top off a head of garlic.  Place on a piece of foil.  Drizzle with olive oil and seal the foil.

Pop the garlic into the oven and roast until the cloves are mushy, about 20 minutes.

Follow the same procedure for the zucchini as that for the eggplant.

 

Peel and dice the onions (How To Dice An Onion).  Saute over medium-high heat in a large pot.

If using fresh tomatoes, grate on a cheese grater and throw away the skin.  OK to use high quality, canned, chopped tomatoes.

When onions are nicely browned, add about one ounce of wine and cook until wine is reduced.  Add tomatoes.  Stir in roasted garlic, zucchini and eggplant when they are nicely browned.  If necessary, add some water to prevent sticking and burning.

 

Time to roast the peppers.  The easiest way to stem and core bell peppers is to press around the stem with your thumb.  When it releases, pull it out.  Break the pepper apart lengthwise and remove the seeds. Very lightly toss with olive oil and place skin side up into the hot over.

Roast until the skin blackens and blisters.

Immediately place the hot peppers in a bowl and seal with plastic wrap.  This serves to trap the steam making the skin easy to peel off with your fingers.  Discard the skin.

Rough chop the skinned peppers and add to the ratatouille mixture.

Add bay leaves and fresh or dried oregano, fresh or dried thyme and dried basil (only if fresh is not available to add at the end).

Simmer for an hour or more to blend flavors, stirring occasionally and checking it water needs to be added.

Serve over polenta or pasta, under a piece of grilled salmon, as a topping for homemade pizza or as a side dish.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Oven-Roasted Ratatouille
Recipe type: Main or Side
Serves: 6 to 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggplant, peeled and cut into ¾ inch dice
  • 3 large zucchini, cut into ¾ inch dice
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into ¾ inch pieces
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 large onions, peeled, quartered and sliced thin
  • olive oil, as needed
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ cup white wine (optional)
  • 4 large tomatoes, grated and skin discarded
  • OR 2 (or more) large cans peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped or pureed
  • ½ cup tomato paste (optional)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons dried or fresh oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
  • handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF / 220º C.
  2. Keeping separate, toss eggplant and zucchini in olive oil. Spread on sheet pans. Sprinkle with salt. Place in the preheated oven. Stir occasionally and roast until browned and tender.
  3. Core and seed the bell peppers. Tear into large pieces and lightly coat with olive oil. Place on a sheet pan, skin side up, and roast until skin is blackened. Immediately place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so the trapped steam will loosen the skin, about 10 minutes.
  4. Using fingers, peel the skin off of the peppers and discard. Chop peppers and add to pot.
  5. Cut off the top of the garlic head. Place on a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil. Seal foil packet and roast until soft, about 20 minutes.
  6. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add onions and cook until translucent and lightly browned.
  7. Add wine to hot pan and cook until the wine is reduced. Add tomato paste, if using. Add grated or canned tomatoes. Cook a few minutes.
  8. Add roasted vegetables. Stir to combine. Add dried herbs and red pepper flakes. Simmer until flavors meld. Adjust seasoning and stir in fresh basil.
  9. Serve immediately, next day (best) or freeze.
  10. Can be eaten as a side dish, served over pasta or polenta, served under grilled salmon or as a topping for pizza.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Remy deVarenne says:

    Hi Amy,
    I am a long time friend and colleague of the infamous foodie S. Bleecker Totten. This looks like a great methodology that I will try. Despite my French heritage I prefer the Italian version caponata and will add the traditional Sicilian ingredients olives, capers, vinegar and sugar. I am sure it will work just as well. This also looks like it will save a lot of time versus the way I traditionally make it in a frying pan ingredient after ingredient. You could use multiple trays in your oven and not have to stand there for hours. Congratulations on the win. I will continue to follow if you include me on your updates.

    Remy

    • Thanks, Remy. It is like caponata. Thanks for pointing that out. I never thought of that. This recipe could convert quite easily. Bleecker, Bebe and I (years ago) had the best caponata I have ever tasted. Chef confessed his secret ingredient was a small bit of unsweetened cocoa powder. I can only get two medium trays in my tiny Swiss (standard size) oven so it takes longer. Really miss my two huge U.S. ovens, especially at Christmas baking season. You can LIKE on FB or go on the homepage and plug in your email address to get updates when there is a new posting. Thanks!!

  2. Ginger Morriello says:

    Hi Amy! I’m so glad I can follow all your great adventures through your new blog! This recipe looks amazing! I am going to try this recipe this weekend as a surprise for Henry! I’ll keep you posted!

    • Lovely to hear from you, Ginger. REally excited you are going to make this. I always, always have some in our freezer for quick meals since it can be used numerous ways. If you want to use it more as a pasta sauce, add more tomatoes or more water. If a bit too loose, cook down to tighten it up for other uses. If you want future automatic updates, sign up on the homepage. Give your email address and an approval email with be sent to you. YOur address won’t be used for anything other than this.

  3. Debra Taylor says:

    I love Ratatouille and I love Hiltl. Congratulations on your award winning recipe Amy! Your accompanying photos are vibrant and gorgeous, they really show us what to do. I will try your method soon with all of the fresh ingredients available at the Swiss farmers’ markets.

    • Thanks so much, Debra!! I just added two segments to the blog (look on the right of the homepage) – a How To section and a Step-By-Step section where you can find recipes and photographs. I really, really appreciate you taking the time to read the blog and, hopefully pass it along. I am just horrid at promoting it.

  4. Susan Flory says:

    This is brill Amy! Congrats on your win. I will start doing my garlic this way all the time and this easy-peasy tip about getting to the good stuff of a pepper is fab:

    The easiest way to stem and core bell peppers is to press around the stem with your thumb. When it releases, pull it out.

    No more fiddling. Will be following your excellent new endeavour with much interest.

    Cheers
    Susan

    • Thanks, Susan. Really appreciate your comments. Hope all is well in Geneva. Love roasted garlic. Can just squeeze it out and spread it on bread slices brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven. Sprinkle with sea salt. Another nice way is take loads of peeled cloves and cover with olive oil. Cook over very low heat for about 30 to 45 minutes until lightly browned and soft. Use oil to saute or in salad dressing.

  5. Emanuel Morén says:

    I’m cooking ratatouille about once per week. I have done it the way you’ve described it in your recipe multiple times. Lately did I start to keep the veggies slightly more undone. Didn’t pre heat the egg plant, squash, pepper. The only thing I did was begun with onions and garlic, added the leek, then peppers, squash, eggplant and ended the dish with the tomatoes.

    If it’s done in my way I’m sure you’re keeping the vitamins and the texture of everything. It takes about 1h – 1,5 h to prepare from the moment you have chopped everything til you can eat it.

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