The classic French ratatouille recipe is one that sounds more complicated to make than it is. You probably have more difficulty pronouncing it, than making it. Unless you have watched the Disney-Pixar movie of course, then you are probably already on top of it! (It is pronounced “ra-ta-touiye”).
Ratatouille is traditionally a dish from Provence, from the city of Nice in the South of France. It usually features an assortment of local vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes. The word “rata” is thought to be army slang for ragoût, meaning “motley stew”. (The current-day version of a ragôut is a similar, but has meat in it.).
Traditional vs Baked
Now the traditional ratatouille is usually cooked on the stovetop with the lid on, releasing all the juices of the vegetables and the spices from the pantry. But you can also take the exact same recipe and instead of putting it on the stovetop, put it in the Instant Pot. It keeps all of the flavor and none of the hassle of watching the stove.
There is also the option of cooking it in a baking pan. The baked ratatouille has less sauce since it is oven-roasted. Some people (especially children) might prefer the baked version, since it has less of a chance to get messy, but both versions taste just as good, so it comes down to personal preference.
☞ READ MORE: Classic French Recipes remade in the Instant Pot
What to serve with ratatouille?
In France, ratatouille is usually served with baguette or steamed rice as a main dish. But you can also serve it as a side dish with some pork chops, roasted chicken or chipolata sausages. Lamb chops as well are excellent.
What drinks to serve with it?
In terms of wine, a bottle of lighter red wine or rosé usually pairs well with a ratatouille. The ratatouille is supposed to bring back feelings and memories of the sun-kissed French Riviera, so a lighter wine is suggested. A Côtes de Provence, Mâcon Bourgogne or Vin de Corse will go well to keep with the theme.
☞ READ MORE: Easy Guide to the French Wines
Can you freeze it?
If you intend to freeze the ratatouille, I recommend taking out the portion that you are going to freeze before it is fully cooked (around the 20-minute mark). It will retain its consistency better without becoming too watery when you go to reheat it.
Let the ratatouille cool a bit outside before placing it in the freezer. I’d also recommend storing it in one of those hermetically sealed glass containers (I really dislike plastic!) when storing it in the freezer. This helps avoid freezer burn.
Frequently asked Questions
Do you need to peel the eggplant before putting it in?
No, but if you have a picky eater, you could consider it since the eggplant skin has a particular consistency even when cooked.
Can you use pre-chopped frozen vegetables, instead of fresh?
If you want to use frozen vegetables, I recommend cooking it in the oven instead of the Instant Pot. Add an additional 15 minutes to oven-time instructions below.
Any other shortcuts to the ratatouille recipe?
I’ve included all the fresh spices that we use in ratatouille recipes in France, but you can also use a pre-mixture which you can buy called dried “herbs of provence“.
- 2 courgettes (zucchini)
- 2 aubergine (eggplant)
- 1 green pepper
- 1 red pepper
- 2 tomatoes
- 4 gloves of crushed garlic
- 2 medium-sized onion
- 5 table spoons of olive oil
- 3 sprigs of parsley
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2 sprigs of basil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon of oregano flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and chop the peppers, eggplant, onions and zucchini into slices.
- Wash and chop the tomatoes into quarters.
- In the Instant Pot, pour a little olive oil and start browning all the vegetables on the Sauté function. Start cooking the peppers, then add the eggplant into the pot, then onions, then zucchini and finally the tomatoes.
- Add the herbs, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Put lid on Instant Pot and cook at High Pressure for 2 minutes, with quick release.
- Once the countdown is finished, taste and season with more herbs and spices, if necessary.
- Serve immediately.
Baked Ratatouille Recipe Instructions
- Instead of placing in the Instant Pot, arrange all the ingredients in a baking pan.
- Cover the top with a light layer of breadcrumbs (Optional).
- Cover with tinfoil and bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes (200C or 390F).
- Take off the tinfoil and cook for an additional 15 minutes until the top of the vegetables looks browned.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 199Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 88mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 11gSugar: 17gProtein: 6g
Note: We are not certified nutritionists and these estimates are approximate. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. This website is written and produced for informational purposes only.
☞ READ MORE: ABC of French Cuisine (the Food Dictionary)
If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French recipes that are easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt !
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