This is a wonderful Mediterranean concoction from the south of France where olive oil, baby zucchini, eggplant and garlic are used in abundance. The secret to good ratatouille is in the simmering of the vegetables. Traditionally, this dish is simmered over very low heat for a long time but this method is just as good and great for people on the go ! I like to prepare this and serve it over basmati rice as a main dish. It is also a good side dish or can be mixed in with pasta as a pasta salad or added to baked potatoes.
It’s the perfect accompaniment to any grilled or sauteed piece of meat. You can serve it hot or chilled or room temperature.
It’s one of those versatile recipes that can go with any meal. It fits perfectly on the buffet table or elegantly arranged on individual serving plates. It’s always a success and you can vary the ingredients to whatever you have on hand.
It works for vegans and vegetarians. And the leftovers can always be used in other recipes like salads or top a plain pizza crust for Mediterranean-style pizza.
Recipe – Rapid Ratatouille
Preparation and cooking Time : 40 min.
Servings : 4 main dishes (approx. 3½ cups)
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
- 2 small yellow onions, sliced
- 1 ½ cups of bell pepper (red, green or mix of the two)
- 1 ½ cups of sliced mushrooms
- 1 medium zucchini, approximately 1 ½ cups, cubed
- 1 small eggplant, approximately 2 cups, cubed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups, uncooked basmati rice
- Prepare rice according to package directions.
- In a large skillet with lid, begin sauteing the garlic and onion on medium-high heat until onions begin to soften (approximately 3 minutes).
- Reduce heat to medium. Add pepper, mushrooms and zucchini and continue sauteing another 5 minutes until mushrooms and zucchini begin releasing their water.
- Stir in eggplant, reduce heat to medium-low (if vegetables start sticking) and cover for 5 minutes
- stirring occasionally.
- Remove lid, salt to taste.
- Continue sauteing over medium-low heat for an additional 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft or ready to serve. (If vegetables begin to stick, add a bit more olive oil or water.)
Optional : Add 2/3 cup sour cream (low-fat OK) to last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Serve over rice or baked potatoes, as is or topped with an optional 1/3 cup of grated mozzarella cheese. Leftover ideas : Add leftovers to salads or top a plain pizza crust for Mediterranean pizza !