As well as being a great film, ratatouille is one of my favourite dishes to make. It is simple yet hearty, and leaves your house smelling amazing.
I do not make this recipe very often, however, I finally used my last frozen portion a few weeks ago, so knew it was time for another batch.
The recipe I use is from the Hairy Bikers book: Hairy Dieters and takes around 1 hour 15 mins to make, including prep time. The ingredients are:
- 1 Aubergine
- 2 Courgettes
- 1 White onion
- 2 Peppers (I chose orange and yellow)
- 3 Cloves garlic
- Ground coriander
- 400g Can chopped tomatoes
- Fresh Basil
To start, I began to prep the veg. Firstly I chopped the peppers, courgettes and aubergine into medium-sized chunks- I think if they are different sizes it makes the dish feel more rustic. I drizzled oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fried the veg in three batches, ensuring it was lightly browned. Stirring constantly this took about 3 minutes per batch, and when they were done I emptied the veg into a separate bowl.
Once all of the veggies were slightly soft, I put my large casserole dish on the hob onto a medium heat. Into my dish I added the onion, which I had sliced thinly, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. After the onion had also began to soften I added the minced garlic cloves and a large sprinkle of ground coriander.
Making sure all of the coriander was mixed with the onion and garlic I then introduced the tin of chopped tomatoes.
The next bit became a bit tricky as I had to carefully add the veg into the casserole dish. Once everything has cooked, the size of the casserole dish doesn’t really matter, but before the veggies have reduced down, it was a bit of a squeeze. I tackled this by adding the veg slowly, ensuring everything was evenly coated with tomato and herbs.
At this point I gave my salt and pepper grinders a few twists over the mixture, once again stirring it in.
Once all the ingredients were mixed throughly I added the lid and popped it into the oven. The oven was preheated to 170 degrees (fan). The dish stayed in for 30 mins, whilst the flavours began to infuse- the kitchen smelt amazing. After the 30 minutes were up I took the ratatouille out of the oven, gave it a good stir, re-incorporating all of the sauce into the veg, and put it back in.
After another 15 minutes it was ready to come out!
I was super hungry at this point, and I had quickly cooked some wholewheat fusilli at the same time so I was ready to plate up.
I added some more salt and pepper to taste, and a few torn basil leaves. The recipe does recommend letting the ratatouille stand for about 10 minutes after cooking, but I was so hungry after the gym I became too inpatient.
Despite this, it tasted great, and the fresh basil was a perfect extra on top.
Previously I have eaten ratatouille with noodles, tuna steak, chicken and even on its own, so it is really versatile, and like I previously mentioned, it can be frozen too. Obviously it tastes better fresh, but after a quick whizz in the microwave it will be as good as new.
As this dish is vegetarian (vegan even), it is relatively low-cost. The number of portions you get depends really on how much you eat, and what you choose to accompany it with. However, to make the whole dish, which the Hairy Bikes suggest serves four, the cost was around £2.80, what a BARGAIN!!!
( I cannot find the exact link online as I have the cook book, but there are many similar recipes about there!)