Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vegetables Shaken and Stirred

This week our local Sprouts had good deals on eggplant and zucchini, so last night I made myself a giant batch of ratatouille.

According to Merriam-Webster, the name "ratatouille" come from two French words, one meaning "to shake" and the other "to stir."  Ratatouille does take a considerable amount of shaking and stirring, not to mention chopping, but it tastes delicious and can be eaten alone or combined with eggs (think omelet or quiche filling) or pasta.  Ratatouille also freezes well if you have any left over, but I can generally mow through an entire "10 side dish servings" batch in about three days all by myself.

Note: I use less olive oil than is traditional in this recipe, but you need some to contribute to the final flavor.  If you just can't stand the taste of olive oil you can try peanut oil instead, but...your loss.  By all means use fresh tomatoes instead of canned if you can find really good ones, but remember - if they don't smell like tomatoes, they won't taste much like them, either.


1/4 cup olive oil
1 large eggplant
4 medium zucchini
1 1/2 large yellow onions
1 green bell pepper
1 can (14.5 oz.) fire-roasted tomatoes
2 Tbl chopped fresh basil
2 Tbl chopped fresh cilantro
Pepper and salt to taste

Roughly chop all the vegetables, starting with the eggplant.  Put the eggplant in a large colander; salt and leave to drain.  After the other ingredients have been prepped, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 3 quart saute pan or large skillet and saute the zucchini for 5 minutes.  Add the onions and green pepper and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Heat 2 more tablespoons of olive oil in another pan and saute the eggplant in it for the same 15 minutes.  Add the sauteed eggplant and the remaining ingredients to the pan containing the zucchini mixture; if your skillet is not big enough to hold everything, use a large saucepan instead.  Cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until the flavors have blended but the vegetables still retain some color and texture - about 30 minutes or a little longer.  (If overcooked, the ratatouille will still taste OK but it will be brown and mushy - Not A Good Thing.) 

Refrigerate at least an hour to give the flavors more time to meld.  Reheat before serving.

Linguini: Hey... Why do they call it that?
Skinner: What?
Linguini: Ratatouille. It's like a stew, right? Why do they call it that? If you're gonna name a food, you should give it a name that sounds delicious. Ratatouille doesn't sound delicious. It sounds like "rat" and "patootie." Rat-patootie, which does not sound delicious. 

~From Ratatouille, the movie


  1. I've never had Ratatouille. Looking at the recipe, it looks delicious :)

  2. It's a great side dish with almost any kind of meat, but I often eat it for lunch all by itself or with a few crackers. :0