Since I saw the wonderful & extraordinary movie ‘Ratatouille’ (if you haven’t seen it yet, I urge you to rent it NOW!) I- unsurprisingly- developed an urge to try out different recipes for ratatouille… so this post documents my first experiment of making it.
I decided to try out Nigella Lawson’s recipe for ratatouille, with a few adjustments. My efforts to cook all recipes from her book ‘How to eat’ continue, and this is a goal I’ve been enjoying so far: touch wood, hope the enjoyment lasts, & I don’t start cursing soon!
The ratatouille turned out very well- I’m sure not as well as the one in the movie, but maybe nothing can live up to that… This a nice, reliable side dish, perfect to serve in warmer weather. I served it with some roast meat which I had prepared, & it was a good- although not spectacular- side dish, a handy one to keep in mind when you have friends over. Here’s my version of the recipe:
- 2 medium onions
- 2 cloves garlic (I skipped this)
- 1 aubergine
- 5 smallish courgettes
- 3 large sweet red peppers (I didn’t have any of these, so I skipped them, but I think they would be a good addition)
- 4 large tomatoes (what Nigella suggests) / or half a jar of tomato passata (which is what I used)
- 6-10 tbsps olive oil
- 1/2 to 1 tsp ground coriander (Nigella alternatively suggests 1 tsp coriander seed)
- fresh basil or fresh parsley
Method (I’ve crossed out the steps I didn’t follow, feel free to follow those too if you want to be closer to Nigella’s version):
- Slice the onions into thin half-moons
- Mince the garlic (if you’re using it)
- Cut the aubergines into half-moons & the courgettes into slices
- Cut the peppers in half, remove cores & seeds, cut into thin (but not straggly) strips or chunks
- If using the tomatoes, skin them by plunging into boiled water for a few minutes & then slipping the skins off. Halve them scoop out seeds & cut into chunks
- Cook in this order: onions first, then aubergines, courgettes, garlic & peppers, & lastly tomatoes
- Heat the oil in a thick bottomed wide pan
- Cook the onions until soft but not brown
- Add the aubergines, cook for a minute or so, then add the courgettes, stirring into the oil for a few minutes. Carry on like this with the peppers & garlic (add more oil if you feel it’s needed, but I would say not too much)
- Cover the pan & cook gently for 40 mins. Make sure it is gently & that the bottom doesn’t burn
- Add the tomato passata (if using that) or the fresh tomatoes, coriander, salt & pepper
- Cook for another 30-40′ until all vegetables are soft but not mushy
- Stir in the basil or parsley
- Eat, preferably at room temperature as a side dish with meat or chicken. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days, but make sure you take it out of the fridge well before you want to eat it, so that it’s not icy-cold when you serve it.
I am submitting this post as part of a blog-event called ‘Fat chefs or skinny gourmets?’ organized by Ivy, of Kopiaste to Greek Hospitality, in Greece and Ben, of What’s Cooking in the U.S. I learnt about this event from Ivy’s site; she lives & cooks in Athens, has a wonderful blog in Greek and its mirror site in English, which is where this event is running, as well as in Ben’s blog. Their event has to do with recipes that are tasty but that can easily be used when someone is trying to be a bit more careful with calories & lose weight. I think this raratatouille is ideal for someone who loves cooking & is on a weight-loss plan. First, because it satisfies the taste-buds. Second, because it takes a while to prepare & cook, & that can be satisfying for someone who loves cooking but wants to lose weight at the same time. And third, because not only is it not calorific, but it’s also full of nutrients due to all the vegetables used. In any case, I hope you enjoy this ratatouille, diet or not.