Hands down, this is the best Ratatouille I have ever tasted. I am so grateful to Paula Wolfert for including this recipe in her fabulous Mediterranean Grains and Greens: A Book of Savory, Sun-Drenched Recipes. I’ve made some adaptions that work for me but this recipe is genius.
This ratatouille is best prepared the day before you serve it. Of course we sampled it during our dinner the night we made it but it was truly amazing the next evening. The recipe calls for roasted red peppers. I will sometimes use the jarred variety, as we did the other day. We have done it both ways and I always feel better if I do it myself but the jury is still out on if it really makes a difference in the taste.This recipe makes a huge amount of Ratatouille. It freezes beautifully and makes a great accompaniment for lamb but roast chicken, pork or any grilled or roasted meat.
- 5 pounds Eggplant
- 5 pounds Zucchini
- 5 large Onions
- 4 cloves of minced Garlic
- ¼ cup of mixed herbs: Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Mint, Basil, and Oregano
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 cups White Wine
- 4 pounds of ripe Tomatoes or 2 – 32 oz cans of San Marzano Tomatoes
- 5 large Red Bell Peppers or 3 jars of Roasted Red Peppers Chopped
- Salt, Pepper and Sugar as needed
- Up to a Quart of Olive Oil
- ¼ Cup of Chopped Basil & Parsley (mixed together – proportions as desired) for garnish
- Peel, Stem and cut the Eggplant into 1” pieces. Place the cut pieces in a large colander and sprinkle with 2-3 tablespoons of Salt and mix thoroughly (very gently) and leave in the sink to drain.
- Stem the Zucchini. Peel the zucchini or you can leave the skin on if you like the green color. Prepare the Zucchini as you did the Eggplant taking care to cut the pieces the same size as the Eggplant. Place the Zucchini in a separate colander and salt as you did the eggplant.
- Chop the onions and sauté gently with ¼ cup of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or roasting pan. When the onions become soft add ½ cup of water and an additional ¼ cup of olive oil, cook until water evaporates. This could take 30 minutes to 1 hour. When the onions are translucent, soft and golden add the garlic, chopped herbs, bay leaf, 1-2 teaspoons of sugar, and white wine. Cook over medium heat, stirring often for 15 minutes. Add salt and Pepper to taste.
- In a food processor chop the fresh or canned tomatoes. If using fresh chop the tomatoes with their skins. Add to the pan and continue cooking for 1-½ hours, stirring often and adding wine or water as needed to prevent scorching.
- Preheat oven to 450. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Shake the liquid form the eggplant and dry with paper towels, wiping as much salt as possible from the flesh.
- Place in a large bowl and mix with ¼ cup of olive oil. Spread the eggplant on the baking sheet. Be careful not to crowd it or it will steam rather than roasting. Place the baking sheets in the oven and roast for 20 minutes until the eggplant is soft. Place the roasted eggplant in a clean bowl and repeat until all of the eggplant and zucchini have been roasted.
- Meanwhile, if you are using fresh peppers grill them over a gas burner until charred, place in a paper bag to cool. Once cool stem, peel, and seed. If using jars of roasted peppers rinse in a colander. Cut the peppers then add to the bowl of roasted Eggplant and Zucchini.
- Gently add the roasted eggplant, zucchini and peppers to the tomato and onion mixture. Simmer, covered, for one hour.
- Let the ratatouille cool and skim as much oil as possible. Refrigerate overnight then skim again for oil. Gently reheat or freeze up to 3 months.
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