Ratatouille, one of the oldest and best dishes around and I have been eating this since mum used to make it for us as kids.
The history according to Google is, it originated in 18th Century in the area around the French Provence and Nice. The word is from 1778, a motley stew, composed of cooked vegetables such as eggplant, onions, zucchini, peppers (capsicum) tomatoes and garlic. A dish initially made by poor farmers and prepared in the summer when fresh vegetables were available and needed to be used up at harvest.
I understand why it has lasted all these centuries. It is simple to make, healthy, full of nutrients and vitamins, tastes delicious, can be made in large batches and be frozen. Best to use the biggest pot you have as the ingredients pile up when you are cutting them.
I often add other bits and pieces such as mushrooms, olives and different herbs depending on what I have at the time. My personal preference is to serve it hot, on its own, and sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese and finally lots of ground pepper. It fills me up, warms me in winter and I always feel good after eating it.
The dish served by itself is vegan friendly, gluten free, vegetarian, dairy free. However, some prefer to add it with other foods such as pasta, bread, rice, meat, chicken, fish or served as a side dish. Either way you have many choices.
A French Provencal stewed vegetable dish also known as Ratatouille Nicoise
- 2 Eggplants (aubergine)
- 2 Onions large
- 4 Zucchini (courgette) medium to large
- 2 Capsicums/Peppers – red and or yellow with seeds removed
- 6 Tomatoes medium ripened
- 1 400g can of peeled tomatoes
- 3-4 Cloves garlic crushed
- 3 Tablespoons oil
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 Bay leaf
- Basil and thyme, a few leaves and sprigs
- Ground salt and pepper for seasoning to taste
- Prepare and cut all vegetables in advance in chunky pieces. Can choose to slice eggplants, it’s a personal choice
- Begin cutting with eggplant before other vegetables and sprinkle with salt. Allow to stand on absorbent paper towel for 30 minutes. Wipe away moisture with paper towel before cooking
- Cook on stove top either in a Dutch Oven, or large frying pan or pot with a lid
- Add in oil, fry onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Add remainder fresh tomatoes, zucchini, capsicums, eggplant, seasoning, vinegar, tear up fresh herbs into dish
- Turn ingredients over in pot on stove for a few minutes without cooking through
- Add in canned tomatoes
- Either place Dutch Oven in pre heated oven at 150 degrees Celsius or alternatively cook on stove top in frying pan or pot with lid on at low heat
- Cook slowly for 1 to 1.15 hour or when vegetables are soft in centre
- Delicious if served on its own, hot or cold
- May be frozen in containers for another time
NOTE: This recipe is vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, vegan
Non-vegans: delicious served with meatballs, fish or chicken
Gluten free: may be served with gluten free pasta, rice or bread
On the birth of her two grandsons, Ruth Greening experienced an awakening in her life and entering Gen GP (Generation Grandparent) she was given the moniker Nanny Babe as her ‘grandmother’ title. She found things had changed since her child rearing days, and an adjustment to new parenting concepts was required. Hence the birth of the Nanny Babe blog from a baby boomers perspective.
Ruth holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Philosophy, completing this degree while working as a hairdresser and supporting her two children as a single mother. Ruth has worked in the corporate world for approximately thirty years and has recently retired to address her artistic passions.
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