What first sparked my interest in this wonderful dish was a trailer for the new Disney Pixar film about a rat who is trying to realize his impossible dream to become a gourmet chef. The film is called Ratatouille, punning on rat.

Thisa is an oven-roast take on the classic Italian vegetable stew.  I like to serve it with roast chicken on the side and a mild pasta flavored with olive oil and garlic.

The recipe itself is quite versatille, so use different ratios of vegetables at will. Just season it well.

 

recipe and photo courtesy Delia Smith

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 medium courgettes (zucchini…use yellow and green if available…looks great!)
  • 1 small aubergine (eggplant)
  • 1 rounded dessertspoon salt
  • 1 lb (450g) ripe Italian tomatoes or any other red tomatoes (or one can of crushed tomato)
  • 1 small red pepper, de-seeded and cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) squares
  • 1 small yellow pepper, de-seeded and cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) squares
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped into 1 in (2.5 cm) squares
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 heaped teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • freshly milled black pepper

Prepare the courgettes and aubergine ahead of time by cutting them into 1 in (2.5 cm) dice, leaving the skins on. Now place them in a colander and mix them with one rounded dessertspoon of salt. Then place a plate on top of them and weigh it down with a heavy weight, making sure you have a plate underneath the colander to catch the drips. Leave them like this for an hour so that any bitter juices can drain out.

Meanwhile, pour boiling water over the tomatoes, leave them for one minute exactly, then drain, slip the skins off and quarter the flesh. (Or use canned tomato) When the aubergines and courgettes have drained, squeeze out any excess juice, then dry them thoroughly in a clean cloth. Pre-heat the oven to its highest setting. Now arrange the tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes, peppers and onion on the roasting tray, sprinkle with the garlic, torn-up basil leaves, crushed coriander seeds and pepper. Drizzle the oil over, then mix thoroughly to get a good coating of oil. Roast on the highest shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and tinged brown at the edges. Serve straight away.

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