Dad’s Ratatouille

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Luxuriously rich, smooth, and flavorful ratatouille recipe. Vegetables are first browned, then roasted, then cooked in a tomato sauce. Includes onion, garlic, zucchini, squash, bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and fresh herbs.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

My father originally found this recipe from Dean & DeLuca, and over time it has become a family classic. Only he has the patience to make it.

The recipe is little involved, but the results are fantastic! Luxuriously rich, smooth, and flavorful, this ratatouille is a dream to eat.

The trick is to cook all of the vegetables separately, then combine them at the end. That way every vegetable gets exactly the amount of cooking it needs.

Dad’s Ratatouille Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 6-8

Preparation time: 1 hour and a half, minimum.


  • 1 lb of yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lb zucchini, chopped
  • 1 lb yellow squash, chopped
  • Bell peppers, seeds removed, chopped into 1/2 inch square pieces:
  • --1 lb green bell peppers
  • --1/2 lb red bell peppers
  • --1/2 lb yellow bell peppers
  • 1 lb eggplant, 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 lb fresh ripe tomatoes (or equal amount of high quality canned tomatoes, chopped)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-inch sprig rosemary
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock (or thin tomato juice)
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste


1 Preheat oven to 400° F.

2 Sauté onions and garlic: Using a large oven-proof pan over medium high heat, sauté onions in olive oil until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and reduce heat to low.

3 Sauté zucchini: While the onions and garlic are cooking over low heat, put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a another frying pan over high heat. As soon as oil starts to smoke, quickly add enough zucchini cubes all at once to cover the bottom of the pan.

Keep on cooking over high heat, stirring, until zucchini is lightly browned on all sides. Remove zucchini cubes, and add them to pan with the onions.

Working in batches, repeat this process until all of the zucchini cubes have been cooked.

4 Sauté squash, bell peppers, eggplant: Cook the yellow squash in the same manner as the zucchini. Make sure to add a little olive oil between each new batch. Continue with the bell peppers, then the eggplant cubes, adding the browned vegetables to the onion pan as soon as they are cooked.

5 Add salt, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, and vegetable stock: When all the vegetables (except the tomatoes) are browned and in the pan with the onions, increase the heat to high and stir, making sure they don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Add salt to taste, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary, the vegetable stock, and stir well.

6 Place in 400°F oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Alternatively you can cook them on the stovetop on low heat for 30 minutes.

7 Blanch fresh tomatoes, remove skin, chop tomatoes: If using fresh tomatoes, boil water in a saucepan on stove. Remove stems from tomatoes, and crisscross the bottoms with a knife. Plunge into boiling water for a minute or two, until skin starts to fall away. Rinse in cold water and remove skin.

Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise, remove seeds, chop coarsely, set aside.

8 Drain vegetables, reduce juices to make a glaze: After the vegetables have been in the oven for a half hour, remove from oven, drain vegetables in a colander set over a bowl to catch the juices. Clean browned bits (if any) off bottom of pan with a paper towel.

Return any liquid to the pan and reduce to a thick glaze over medium high heat. Keep on adding juices to the pan as they run out of the vegetables into the bowl.

9 Combine cooked vegetables with chopped tomatoes: When all the juices have been reduced, return vegetables to the heavy pan. At this point the ratatouille should be moist and shiny, with very little liquid. Turn heat off. Add the chopped tomatoes and cover. If serving as a warm side dish, let the ratatouille stand for 10 minutes, just enough to "cook" the tomatoes. The ratatouille can be served at room temperature or refrigerated and reheated the next day.

10 When ready to serve, remove the bay leaf, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Recipe adapted from Dean & Deluca.

Recipe of the ratatouille served in the movie - Called "confit byaldi", this recipe from Thomas Keller was the basis of the recipe of the ratatouille that was served in the Pixar film.
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Nicoise ratatouille by Béa of La Tartine Gourmande
Maki's ratatouille from Just Hungry
Socca crepes filled with ratatouille from chef Brett of In Praise of Sardines
Ratatouille tart with goat chees from Meeta of What's for Lunch, Honey?
Ratatouille, Iman Bayildi - classic Turkish recipe from Food Vagabond

Showing 4 of 25 Comments / Reviews

  • Daniel Heffernan

    Elise there’s something about your cooking that grabs me. Im a haphazard pinner, I flutter around pinning what takes my fancy, no rhyme or reason ” ‘cept cuz ah laks it just then”. Then I noticed most of what I was pinning recipe-wise was yours! So Im a follower now. Nice one, cookie ! Keep ’em comin’ !

  • Supa-D

    I am breaking a personal rule, posting a comment before I’ve actually tried a recipe. But after I read the reviews, I got excited about trying this one. I had ratatouille at a graduation party once and it was delicious. I love eggplant and veggies in general, and ratatouille is a delicious way to up your veggie consumption. So I got a recipe that was very laborious & included layering the sliced eggplant between paper towels and waiting. The results were underwhelming and after all that work, I never tried to make it again. That was 30+ years ago. But this recipe makes me want to try again. That and I planted six eggplant plants in my garden, so I need more recipes for the bounty I’ll be harvesting later this summer. Thanks for sharing Dad’s recipe! I will post again once I’ve had a chance to make it – and eat it, especially with a poached egg and some crusty French bread, thanks Brooklyn. Yum! :)

  • Brooklyn

    I use your blog for recipes almost on a daily basis, and I have to admit I was skeptical of this recipe, but because of all the great reviews I decided to try it. I also have never heard of anyone calling a pot of vegetables “luxuriously rich”. But that was accurate! Oh my goodness I was pleasantly surprised. Best way I have ever eaten vegetables. I served it as a main dish, topped with a poached egg and a side of warm french bread. Healthy, delicious, and hearty! Thanks!

  • Ronda

    does this freeze well?

  • DaVoid

    This recipe took absolutely forever to make, but the description sounded too good to pass up. By the time I was through, we were starving, and I was getting angry because it was taking so long, and right up until the end I kept tasting and thinking, this isn’t gonna live up to the description. But the last little touch, cooking down the liquid into a rich gravy, just transformed the dish into the best ratatouille I’ve ever had. I have always loved this dish, and of couse seening the Pixar movie stimulated my taste buds, so my renewed interest egged me on into trying something new. I’m very glad I did~it’s a great recipe.

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