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Start With Fresh Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Other Vegetables
Ratatouille is a delicious, rustic French vegetable stew made from eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini. It matches well with beef, lamb, poultry, and even fish. It also makes a hearty meal served over rice or couscous.
In addition to the eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini, some ratatouille, like this one, features yellow squash, red and yellow bell peppers, red onions, and garlic. You will also need vegetable stock or another liquid to help the vegetables soften and create a thick stew, as well as herbs for seasoning toward the end for added flavor.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
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Cut All the Vegetables Into Large Dice
Eggplant is the key ingredient in Ratatouille, and even though we're preparing this recipe in the rustic style, you may want to peel the eggplant as the skin can be kind of tough. But the decision whether to peel or not is completely up to you as the recipe will be delicious either way.
Ratatouille calls for cutting each vegetable into large dice. Large dice is a cube approximately 3/4 inches on each side, but since ratatouille is a rustic dish, the cuts really don't have to be too precise. It may be helpful, however, to brush up on your onion chopping skills and to learn how to core and seed a bell pepper.
Tomatoes have a lot of moisture in them, but they also have a lot of seeds. So when you slice the tomatoes in preparation for dicing them, you may want to squeeze the juice and seeds into a small bowl. Then, strain out the seeds and save the tomato water to incorporate into the ratatouille along with the vegetable stock.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
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Cook Onions and Garlic
The first vegetables to cook are the onions and garlic. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil (depending on the number of vegetables) in a heavy bottomed skillet and saute the onions until they begin to turn slightly translucent about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to saute for another minute or two until fragrant. Watch carefully to make sure the garlic doesn't burn.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
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Add the Zucchini and Yellow Squash
Zucchini and yellow squash take slightly longer to cook than the eggplant and tomatoes so they need to be added next. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until they begin to soften.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Add the Diced Eggplant
Now it is time for the star ingredient. Add the diced eggplant to the skillet and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to combine with the other vegetables.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Add the Peppers
Red and yellow bell peppers add color and sweetness to the ratatouille. Add them to the pan and saute along with the other vegetables for about 3 to 4 minutes.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
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Add the Tomatoes
Besides adding more color, tomatoes provide a lot of moisture to the ratatouille, as well as some mild acidity. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring to incorporate with the other vegetables.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
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Add Vegetable Stock or Other Liquid
Here is where you add vegetable stock and/or the tomato water if using. You only need from a few tablespoons to up to about 1/4 cup of liquid, so start with just a bit. Stir to combine and decide if the mixture is too dry (add a little more liquid) or has enough moisture. Then cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Add Herbs and Seasonings
A bit of fresh or even dried oregano, basil, or thyme is a nice addition to a ratatouille. And don't forget to season with Kosher salt, which brings out the natural flavors of the ingredients. Cook for another minute to let the seasonings and other flavors come together, then remove from the heat.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
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The Finished Ratatouille
Serve ratatouille as an accompaniment with lamb, beef, or poultry, or on its own over rice or couscous.