Dad’s Ratatouille

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.

Preparation time: 1 hour and a half, minimum.

  • Yield: Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

1 Preheat oven to 400° F.

2 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 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.

4 Working in batches, repeat this process until all of the zucchini cubes have been cooked. Do the same with the yellow squash. 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 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. Place in oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Alternatively you can cook them on the stovetop on low heat for 30 minutes.

6 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.

7 After the vegetables have been in the oven for a half hour, remove from oven, drain vegetables in a colander set over a bowl. 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.

8 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.

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

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Comments

  1. Leila

    This is much more complicated than how I make ratatouille, but I can see the reason for the separate pans for onions and squashes/eggplant. The raw tomato added at the end is an intriguing variation – I always added my tomatoes after the other veggies sauteed. The reasons make lots of sense, however. While I usually prefer simpler recipes, this one seems worth the effort.

    I’ll wait until summer to cook it, though! I don’t do ratatouille with imported veg!

  2. 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.

  3. Aryn

    This is AMAZING. I had never had ratatouille before, but wanted to make it to watch when Ratatouille came out on DVD. I cooked it up last night and was thrilled with the results. Sure it takes a long time, but if you love to cook and have the time, it is a joy to make. This is going into the keeper file for sure.

  4. Lauren

    I tried this recipe for my French class, class LOVED it! I am sorry now I did not make more for me and my family to eat, but I know in the near future I will be making Ratatouille!

    Thanks

  5. Diane

    I just made this and it’s wonderful. Mine was not as photogenic-the eggplant pretty much disintegrated but the colors of the other veggies held well. It probably took me an hour to get it into the oven but I love the process and the time went fast. The only change I made was using all red pepper and red onion and at the end I put in some sweetish blush wine to reduce with the liquid and a bit of basil.
    I tasted it along the way and as another poster, thought it would fall short, but in the end it was great.
    Thanks, Elise (and Dad-and Mom). This was my first visit to the site and I can’t wait to explore some more.

  6. Nicole

    I’ve made this about 3 times now. I never quite follow the recipe to the letter (we’ve been making it to help use up the delicious produce we get from the CSA we’re a part of), but it’s always been amazing. Time consuming, yes, but I try to make really big pots of it. Of course, it’s so good that regardless of how much I make it’s always gone quickly!

  7. RiseyP

    Amazing! Delicious! Incredible!

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

  8. Sarah

    This is officially a part of our family repertoire. I crave it now. And since its just my husband and I, we get meals and meals out of my efforts. Thanks to your Dad.

  9. Greg Walker

    Wonderful, classic ratatouille recipe! I absolutely love it!

  10. danielle reid crespo

    This was a delicious ratatouille. I changed it a bit:

    Along with this dish I made a pork tenderloin marinated in beer, rosemary, and a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. After the pork had been marinating for a bit, I added it to the baking dish for the ratatouille. As a result the reduction was sweet and dark which imparted a great flavor to the vegetables – I will do it again this way. Also I added some spanish paprika for a bit of spice, as I live in Barcelona but am from Texas.

  11. Otis T

    The liquid reduction really makes it happen. I did a second seasoning with more garlic and herbs at the end of the reduction and it really kicked it up nicely. I also took all the excess tomato liquid and added that to the reduction. to intensify the tomato aspect. The browning of the veggies on a large cast iron pan replaces the oven roasting well since this takes alot of time anyway. Some things are well worth the wait and this is one of them.

  12. JESS

    Anyone know how many this recipe serves? I’m have a huge party (of 20) and want to make enough.

    It sort of depends on how big the serving. I would say 6-8, for rather small servings. It is quite rich. ~Elise

  13. Kari

    I made this last night for my 8 year old half-brother because he requested it from the Disney movie Ratatouille. He loved it. Excellent recipe. Used canned tomatoes at the end because the vine-ripe tomatoes were not red enough. Delicious!

  14. Del

    This is such an amazing method for Ratatouille – I made a couple of tweaks to the ingredients the few times that I’ve made it this year, but every time it turned out so nummy! This has definitely become my go-to method for Ratatouille.

    Del

  15. Stephany

    I made this today, and I modified it with my quicker recipe by doing the veggies on the stove in a skillet, but when it was time to make the sauce I let it cook down by itself and then mixed the vegetables together. Other ways to eat ratatoui that I’ve found:
    Ratatoui Quiche
    Ratatoui Pizza
    with pasta, cracked wheat or bulgur or barley.

  16. Nancy

    I have made ratatouille for years but I was in the mood for something different. I had read all different recipes online & this one sounded interesting so I tried it. I loved it! One of the commenters had mentioned making pork w/it so I followed suit. I cooked my tenderloin to medium rare while the ratatouille was in the oven. I then finished it off in the liquid while reducing. It was amazing! I do believe this is my new & favorite ratatouille recipe. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  17. michaila

    Can you subsitute the bell peppers and the eggplant for anything?

    Not if you want ratatouille. You could just leave them out and then you would have a lovely tomato, summer squash, onion and garlic dish. It would still taste great. ~Elise

  18. Taryn

    We’ll just second everybody else – this recipe is worth the wait and the work! We followed it to a T, no changes suggested. Yum. Thanks, Elise!

  19. Susan

    I am going to try this recipe on fried polenta circles, yum…

  20. Ronda

    does this freeze well?

    • Elise

      Hi Ronda, I haven’t tried freezing it but my guess would be that it does freeze well. If you make it and freeze it, please let us know how it turns out for you.