I have given the French classic, ratatouille, a makeover. Having got tired with it in the past for being an over cooked and mushy side dish, I have set about developing my own recipe which not only looks far more appetising, it has bite and is super easy to make in advance. The vegetables are chopped small and oven roasted in batches while you make the tomato base. Don’t be tempted to roast altogether as they will steam not roast. Simply reheat the sauce and fold in the vegetables when you are ready to serve. I did exactly this recently – I prepared everything the night before then the following day I served it as part of a French themed barbecue alongside, peppered skirt steak and whole salmon fillet sprinkled with herbs de Provence – absolument délicieux!
If you are lucky to have any leftover – it is superb on pasta and sprinkled with Parmesan. The recipe is easy to double too – if you do, use only 500g tomato passata not 1 kg.
75ml (5 Tbsp) olive oil
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
500g tomato passata
3 peppers – mixed colours
pinch of sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
small bunch of basil, chopped
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C Fan.
- Peel and finely chop the onion. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 Tbsps of olive and gently soften the onion for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic to the onion and sauté for a further minute. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and passata. Season to taste. Leave to simmer gently for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables – top and tail the aubergine and chop into 1cm cubes. Place in a roast tin and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive. Toss together and roast in the oven for 12 minutes.
- Remove the aubergine from the tin and place in a large container.
- Repeat step 4 with the courgette and add to the container.
- Repeat step 4 with the peppers, removing the tops and seeds beforehand.
- Meanwhile, check the sauce for seasoning and add a pinch of sugar.
- Stir the cooked vegetables into the tomato sauce and finally stir in the chopped basil.
- Alternatively, cover the cooked aubergine, courgettes and peppers and store in the fridge and refrigerate the tomato sauce too. When ready to serve (up to 36 hours), simply warm the sauce through and fold in the vegetables. Finally, taste and recheck the seasoning before serving.