Recipe

Family ratatouille

This dish takes advantage of summer’s bounty of tomatoes, courgettes, capsicums and eggplants. My dad makes a mean ratatouille, and he’s taught Mum and I that exact quantities aren’t essential. The trick is to take your time sautéing each ingredient and layering them to bake.

By Nici Wickes
  • 1 hr cooking
  • Serves 8
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Ingredients

Family ratatouille
  • 4 medium-sized onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 clove garlic, chopped
  • 8 courgettes, cut into 2-3cm rounds
  • 2 eggplants
  • 2 red or yellow capsicums, cut into strips
  • 1 tin whole tomatoes, or 6 big tomatoes (see tip)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • crusty loaf of bread and a green salad, to serve

Method

Family ratatouille
  • 1
    In a frying pan, gently cook the onions in enough olive oil to stop them sticking for 20 minutes, adding the garlic halfway through. When cooked to golden brown, tip into a large oven-proof dish.
  • 2
    Using the same frying pan (do not rinse or wash it), add a little more olive oil and cook the courgettes for about 5-8 minutes.
  • 3
    While the courgettes are cooking, top and tail the eggplants. Using a vege peeler, peel strips of skin lengthwise, leaving alternate strips of skin on and exposed flesh. Cut into 2cm- rounds, brush with olive oil and put on an oven tray.
  • 4
    Brown both sides under a hot grill, then roughly chop and layer over the onions. Once the courgettes are cooked, layer them in the large dish.
  • 5
    Cook the capsciums in a little more oil until just beginning to soften. Layer into the serving dish.
  • 6
    Put tomatoes in the pan with salt, pepper and the herbs to heat for a few minutes, scraping any bits and pieces off the pan and pour into the dish.
  • 7
    Scatter the cherry tomatoes over the top. Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C for 30 minutes or until it has deepened in colour and some of the juices have reduced.
  • 8
    Serve with the bread and salad.

Notes

It is better to grill the eggplants than fry them as they soak up less oil. If using fresh tomatoes, use about 6 big ripe ones, cut into thick slices. They don’t need to be precooked, but increase the cooking time to 45 minutes.

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