Early Fall Ratatouille

Granted, I don’t have a really pretty picture (like chili, ratatouille doesn’t photograph extremely well) or a charming back story to accompany this impromptu post.  What I do have is a fantastic  recipe for what I often call “Late Summer Ratatouille”, or in this case, Early Fall Ratatouille, since it is, in fact, early fall.

That’s a quite wordy way to say, simply put, this is a really good recipe!  I started making it a couple of years ago in an attempt to cut down on wasted farmers’ market produce.  Make a huge pot and freeze whatever you don’t eat for a little taste of summer in early winter, even.  If you don’t have all the veggies listed, no problem.  Most of them are optional (and unlike traditional ratatouille, this one include green beans!).  As long as you have onions and garlic for flavor, and tomatoes for the “saucy factor”, zucchini and/or eggplant for meatiness, you’re good to go.  You’ll still have a delicious veggie-style stew.

Makes a huge pot!
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, half-diced, half thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 small zucchini, medium-diced
  • 1 small yellow squash, medium-diced
  • 3 baby eggplants, peeled and diced
  • 2 red and/or orange bell peppers, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. Herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • coarse salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (or more) grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp (or so) chopped parsley and/or basil

1. First, heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the vegetables in the order listed and lightly season (add a dash of salt and pepper) as you add each vegetable.

2. Add tomato paste, herbes de Provence and crushed red pepper.  Stir thoroughly.

3.  Cover and simmer over very low heat for 30-40 minutes.  Check often to make sure it’s not burning (if it is, scrape the bottom of the pan and mix-this actually adds more flavor!)

4.  Add parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.  Stir and serve!

Ratatouille makes for a super tasty and comforting side dish for roasted chicken or grilled meats, but really, it’s lovely straight out of the pot as a light vegetarian meal.  It’s even good as a quesadilla filling or as a condiment for hamburgers or sandwiches.

Bon App tout le monde!

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About Liza M.

foodie, francophile, Ann Arborite, teacher, bookworm and self-professed latte-lover--come cook with me!
This entry was posted in provencal, sides, vegetarian. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Early Fall Ratatouille

  1. La Torontoise says:

    Love Ratatouille but did not know you can add green beans. Will give it a try the next time.

    The most recent recipe that I learnt and started using is the one of Emeril:
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/the-essence-of-emeril/ratatouille-recipe/index.html

    I agree it’s hard to make a good picture of ratatouille:-)

  2. Liza M. says:

    I added them because I had them and didn’t want them to go to waste. The long simmer really gives them a nice, soft, almost buttery, texture. Sort of like Greek melting beans, which I love.

  3. Ratatouille is the best way ever to eat all the tomatoes and zucchini and eggplant! I have two out of the three in my garden–perfect. 🙂

  4. Sara Louise says:

    Usually by this time, I don’t even want to look at another ratatouille, but the green beans in this have me intrigued 🙂

  5. Liza M. says:

    They are an unusual addition. I threw them in one day when I didn’t know what to do with them. They get nice and soft and actually blend in really well!

  6. La Torontoise says:

    Liza, I’m in Toronto this weekend, went to the farmers’ market for green beans. Made the Ratatouille for friends. Was a big hit!
    Did two dishes, the difference being in the use of oven versus pot.
    The pot recipe followed what you described above.
    The oven recipe included a slight change: just before having to add the parmesan cheese, I moved part of the ratatouille to a baking dish and shaved the parmesan cheese over it. 385 degrees in a preheated oven for 20 min. Sprinkling finely chopped parceley was my final touch on it.
    It was a different presentation, but also a different taste.

    I’m headed now to the Netherlands (where I live and work).

    In the meantime, I found this ‘basic recipe’ from Saveur:
    http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Ratatouille

  7. Liza M. says:

    I like the idea of baking it. That sounds good too! Maybe it could also be topped with Provencal bread crumbs (my latest obsession after making the Kitchn’s French Butternut Squash Casserole).

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