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 Nice in Provence in the South of France. The word “rata” is thought to be army slang for ragoût, meaning “motley stew”. (A ragôut today is a similar, but has meat in it.)
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The traditional Ratatouille vs Baked Ratatouille recipe
Now the traditional ratatouille is usually cooked on the stovetop with the lid on, releasing all the juices of the vegetables. But you can also take the exact same recipe and instead of putting it on the stovetop, put it in a baking pan and cook it in the oven instead.
The baked ratatouille has less sauce since it is oven-roasted, but I like the convenience of sticking it in the oven with a timer in the evenings. It is much easier to give the kids a shower in the bathroom, while not having to worry about what is going on in the kitchen.
What to serve with a 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.
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 or Vin de Corse will go well to keep with the theme.
Can you freeze a Ratatouille?
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 stovetop. Add an additional 15 minutes to oventime 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 of dried “herbs of provence“, which should be widely available.
- 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 a pan, pour a little olive oil and start browning all the vegetables. Start cooking the peppers, then add the eggplant into the pan, then onions, then zucchini and finally the tomatoes into the pan.
- Add the herbs, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Cover for 30 minutes, and stir occasionally.
- Taste and season with more herbs and spices, if necessary.
- Serve immediately.
Baked Ratatouille Recipe Instructions
- Instead of arranging in a stovetop pan, 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
If you enjoyed that, check out our other easy French recipes that are classic (with a twist). A bientôt.
- French Snacks: 10 ideas for an after-school nibbleMarch 28, 2020/
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