Ratatouille

A very simple recipe from the South of France. A dear friend of mine Luciole came over and shared her family recipe for Ratatouille with me. This is what I call perfect comfort food. It requires minimum effort in cooking and is so easy on your tummy not to mention nourishing. I had such a great time making the dish with her and listening to her describe her childhood in Nice and how maybe she wants to grow up into an old woman that sells organic honey and olives. Good Times!

I have had various versions of Ratatouille- most of them were very thick and had a lot of olive oil in it. This however is more like a stew that Luciole said her family ate with rice. SO its chunky, has less oil and is liquidy. I served it over pasta and both Luciole and I agreed that its a perfect meal for a wintery evening when all you want to do is curl up in your blanket on the couch and enjoy a hot, comforting meal.

 

We made the dish in a special basil infused olive oil that Luciole’s mother sent to her from France (and she was kind enough to share it with me) but if you don’t have that or anything similar to that, it can easily be substituted with normal olive oil cause eventually we added a lot of dried as well as fresh basil to the dish. If you have any other favorite herb use that instead of basil. Usually I feel basil and parsley are pretty safe herbs (as they don’t overpower the the flavors) specially in the dishes that doesn’t have a lot of seasoning…like this one. Thyme could be a good substitute though!

Serves 4
Cooking time 20 min
Things you will need:
Equal quantity of diced up-
Zucchini (peeled)
Eggplant
Tomatoes
2 medium white onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 tbs basil olive oil (optional- can be substituted with regular olive oil)
2 tsp dried basil
handful of fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cup water
salt
pepper

In a deep heavy bottom pan heat up the oil on medium low. Add the onions and garlic, stir fry with some salt and pepper till the onions become transparent. Add the zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes all at once. Mix well till everything in incorporated well. Add water and dried basil, cover and cook (stirring occasionally) on medium till all the veggies are cooked. you want to leave some liquid in there so that it can coat the pasta or rice- whichever you prefer to eat it with. Add roughly torn fresh basil leaves, mix and taste to adjust the seasoning. Serve hot over your choice of pasta (avoid spaghetti- or it will be tough to eat it.)