Recipes

Dish of the Week: By Any Name, It's Ratatouille



From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week we’re covering a French classic: ratatouille.

From the French word touiller, which means “to toss” – ratatouille is a traditional Provençal dish of stewed vegetables. Though it is thought to have originated as a peasant dish in Nice, France, it has several different aliases throughout the Mediterranean region, so its exact origin is unclear. In Greece, it’s known as tourlou; in Turkey, briam; and in Southern Italy, it goes by the name ciambotta.

Ratatouille is typically made with summer vegetables – including tomatoes, onions, peppers, eggplant and zucchini – along with a mixture of fresh herbs and spices; the ingredients are layered and then baked in a casserole. It can be prepared all at once or by cooking the components separately before baking (a method Julia Child preferred).

Not only is ratatouille a tasty way to use those summer vegetables, it's also incredibly versatile. Make it as a side dish for roast chicken; serve it as is alongside a hunk of crusty bread; or turn into breakfast by adding a fried egg.

This recipe, from Saveur, incorporates a mixture of fresh and dry herbs, including fresh basil and parsley along with fragrant herbes de Provence. 

RATATOUILLE

Ingredients serves 6 

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. dried herbes de Provence
6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 large yellow onions, quartered
1 bay leaf
2 medium zucchini (about 1 1/4 lbs.), cut into 2" pieces
1 medium eggplant (about 14 oz.), cut into 2" pieces
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and quartered
1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and quartered
10 whole peeled tomatoes from the can, drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a six-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add herbes de Provence, garlic, onions and bay leaf; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about ten minutes.

Increase heat to high; stir in the zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Uncover pot, transfer to the oven and bake, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 1-1/2 hours.

Stir in basil and parsley, transfer ratatouille to a serving bowl and serve warm or at room temperature.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano