Sunday, 20 September 2015

Ratatouille

Ratatouille- With- Baugette



The best part I like  about the Mediterranean diet is that it is mainly based on vegetables, fruits,     legumes and olive oil. Ratatouille is one such example. This Provencal stew is overflowing with Summer flavours and sun-kissed colours.


I had been waxing lyrical about French pastries until I had a chance to taste this stew, lavishly enhanced with the sunny flavours of Summer. Zucchini, aubergines and bell peppers are cooked together in a tomato based sauce to create this healthy Mediterranean dish.

There are numerous versions of this recipe but I like to prepare it the traditional way which involves separately cooking each vegetable and eventually combining them into the already cooked tomato base. I sometimes like to cook it in my beloved terracotta cooking pot which I bought from Spain just for this  purpose.


I love this combination of the three main vegetables used in this recipe. I don't like my ratatouille to be watery so I simmer for a couple of minutes to let the water evaporate after adding the vegetables.  I think you can use these Summer vegetables in a lot of different combinations, like my 5 A Day Veg Pasta pasta  which is a wonderfully indulgent mainstay dish in my home.


                                                                                                        Preparation: 30-40 mins
                                                                                                        Serves: 8
                                                                                                         Level: Easy
                                                                                                         Category: Vegetarian
                                                                                                         Cuisine: French
                                                                                                   
IngredientsQuantity
onions                                   1 medium chopped
chopped garlic1 tsp
 blanched peeled tomatoes3-4 tbsp
 zucchini2 medium cut in cubes
 aubergines2 small cut in cubes
bell peppers2 medium cut in cubes
oil3-4 tbsp
salt and black pepper to taste
basil leaves as needed

Method:

Wash and dry the aubergines sprinkle with salt and leave to drain, dry properly with a paper towel and fry in 1 tsp oil for 3-5 minutes until they are just soft but not mushy.



Take 2 tbsp oil and fry the bell peppers and zucchini until they become soft keeping in mind that they should retain their integrity and not become mushy. 


Take a casserole dish add the chopped onions with 1 tbsp oil and saute till translucent. 


Add the chopped garlic and cook for about a minute or two. Now add the tomatoes. Cook covered for 10 minutes until the tomatoes are amalgamated into the onions.


Now add the fried zucchini, aubergines and bell peppers and simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables absorb all the flavours of the sauce.


Add some basil leaves just before serving. Serve with a French baguette or your favourite bread.
Tips: Aubergines absorb a lot of oil so I suggest leaving them with salt for a couple of minutes. Drain the water wash and pat dry before frying. This helps remove the bitterness of aubergines and they also absorb less oil.

Instead of going through the process of blanching and peeling the tomatoes you can use a can of peeled tomatoes.
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