Okay, I’ll start off by saying that I absolutely adore the kids Disney movie, Ratatouille. It is just so cute and I just love all the food-related parts about it. Definitely one of my favorite animated Disney movies.
I was incensed with the idea of making my own homemade ratatouille and didn’t even believe it could be done….until a few months ago when I was browsing through my current issue of Cooks Illustrated and lo and behold, I came across a recipe for homemade ratatouille that I knew I had to try.
Now, for those of you who haven’t seen the movie, you might be wondering, what the heck is ratatouille? Glad you asked. Ratatouille is a meatless vegetable stew (sometimes called “ciambotti”) It’s main features are potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, sweet peppers, and tomatoes in a thick, tasty sauce. It also has a LOT of fresh herb flavors from basil and oregano that are ground up with loads of fresh garlic into an herb paste called, pestata, which is sort of like pesto minus the nuts. This adds an incredible burst of flavor to your ratatouille stew.
Ratatouille is basically just a vegetarian stew with an Italian twist—NO meat and stuffed with tons of different vegetables and herbs. So, don’t be scared off by the long ingredient list—it’s basically just vegetables and herbs you’ll need. And this stick-to-your-ribs stew is so healthy and filling, you can actually feel good about eating it!
Note: If you like your stew a little meatier, feel free to throw in about a pound of browned ground beef–My family loves it like that 😀
My younger siblings think this stew is just the coolest thing: They love the Disney movie and they like to think that they’re eating the same thing the famous rat chef, Remy prepares.
This ratatouille recipe is flawless—I’ve been busy perfecting it for nearly a year, so I’m able to explain all the steps and methods to you in an easy-to-understand way. This hearty stew would make an ideal Sunday dinner, served with crusty french bread to soak up all that silky-thick sauce. It’s comforting and rustic flavors warm you instantly, which you probably need with the fall weather turning cooler.
Yumm. So homey and comforting, I hate to say it, but I love this ratatouille even more than I love the movie! If you haven’t seen the movie, Ratatouille, you need to change that! It’s a great family film that all ages will enjoy. And if you have never made homemade ratatouille, trust me: You’re missing out on a pretty delicious experience!
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- HERB PASTE:
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup fresh oregano leaves
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- RATATOUILLE STEW:
- 1 large eggplant peeled and diced into 1/2 in cubes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt divided
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 6 cups peeled and diced into 1/2 in cubes russet potatoes
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, juice reserved and tomatoes chopped
- 1-1/4 cups water
- 2 medium zucchini diced into 1/2 in cubes
- 2 large sweet red peppers diced into 1/2 in cubes
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- Salt for seasoning
- Prepare the herb paste: Process all herb paste ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place eggplant cubes on paper and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Bake at 400 F 10-12 minutes or until slightly softened.and dry. Set aside.
- Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Heat oil until shimmering, then add potatoes and onion. Stir frequently until potatoes and onions become translucent. Clear the center of the pan and add 1 tablespoon olive oil and tomato paste. Stir until potatoes are evenly coated. Continue cooking over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add water, chopped tomatoes, and reserved juice, and previously cooked eggplant. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
- While the stew is simmering, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet, over medium-high heat. Add diced zucchini, red pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until vegetables are just tender. Clear the center of the pan and stir in herb paste until vegetables are coated. Cook 1-2 minutes longer until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir into potato-stew mixture until combined. Cover and let sit 20 minutes in order to let the flavors meld.
- Just before serving, stir in chopped basil and season with salt to taste.
Just a few more comforting and homey dishes to warm your soul as the weather starts changing…
(My #1 favorite fall pie!)