Ratatouille: How to Cook it

ratatouille

Ratatouille…it doesn’t sound appetizing at all, nor does it come close to being edible-sounding.  But the thing is, it is a dish.  But what kind of dish is it exactly and how does one cook it?

What it is

Ratatouille is a simple and classic French recipe made from a variety of stewed vegetables, including tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplants, garlic, bell peppers, and onions.

Its unique name has been derived from the French word “touiller,” which means “to stir.”  The first two syllables “rata” was derived from the slang French army word which means “chunky stew.”

Ratatouille, more popularized by the Disney film with the same name, can be served hot, cold or at room temperature.  It can be served on its own as a main course, an appetizer, or as a side dish.

And to add more to its versatility, it can also be served along with potatoes, rice, baguettes, couscous, noodles and pasta.

How to Cook it

Complicated as its name may sound, ratatouille is easy to prepare.  All you need are a variety of fresh veggies, herbs like basil, bay leaves and thyme.  Herbes de Provence will also add an authentic flavor to this simple dish.

The trick to creating a wonderful ratatouille is to cook each vegetable slowly and separately first before combining them together in one pot.

Here’s how it should be done: rinse and dice all the vegetables you will use.  Finely chop the onions and garlic.

Heat olive oil on a pot and sauté each of the vegetables separately — once a vegetable has been sautéed, transfer it on a plate and do the same thing with the rest of the vegetables, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes.

Combine all the cooked vegetables into the same pot, adding the Herbes de Provence, bay leaves and the rest of the herbs and spices, but excluding the garlic.  Put salt and pepper to taste.  Cover the pot and allow to cook for 30 minutes.

Add the chopped garlic after that and cook for another five minutes.  Finally, remove the bay leaves from the dish and adjust the taste if necessary.

You can serve the ratatouille immediately after cooking.  You may also allow it to cool before refrigerating and serve it as a cold appetizer later on.

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