It's National Vegetarian week this week and to celebrate we're cooking up some of our delicious Ratatouille. I used to watch my darling Mama make this when I was little and wonder why it was called Ratatouille. My Dad didn't really help matters when he told me there were rats in it ! I've always been totally gullible and as a result didn't eat it for years.
Then once i'd wised up at about 10 years old I realised that actually this French classic was made purely from vegetables, herbs and oil. I have loved it ever since and I in honour of #NationalVegetarianWeek we've made some today from my Mama's recipe with a few twists and turns.
This dish is one of the most colourful dishes there is and on our summer menu later in the year. You can use a variety of different herbs, spices and vegetables but with a Ratatouille the only rules I have is colour and texture. Bright colours make this an incredibly happy and sunny dish and the texture of the vegetables is equally as important as the colour. Basically we don't want mush. We want chunks of recognisable vegetables in a rich and developed sauce.
A very large glug of olive oil
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Red peppers, roughly chopped
2 Yellow Peppers, roughly chopped
1 large Aubergine, roughly chopped
2 large Courgettes, roughly chopped
2 large red onions, roughly chopped
1 white onion, finely diced.
6 chopped tomatoes
1 large glass of dry white wine
A large pinch of Herbs de Provence ( marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano)
Salt and Pepper to taste
A large pinch of Piment D'espelette
In a large heavy based pan, heat the olive oil, then add the garlic and roughly chopped vegetables. Coat them in oil until they are slightly softened then at the wine, herbs and seasonings.
Cook on a low simmer until the vegetables are softened. Don't over cook the vegetables or else they will taste like mush. We want them to retain their shape and texture.
Serve with rice and a dusting of Piment D'espelette for an extra touch of piquance !