Ratatouille became famous all over the world thanks to Pixar Animation Studios. However, as the culinary police would tell you, the “Pixar-style ratatouille” presented in the movie is not at all the traditional dish from Provence.
Authentic ratatouille served in the South of France is a messy stew simmered on the stove top, not a neatly arranged presentation of sliced vegetables cooked in the oven as in the movie.
Well, guess what! This is not an authentic ratatouille recipe either. Sorry to disappoint you. Don’t get me wrong, I love the stove top version that my Mom used to make. I still make it from time to time and have passed the recipe on to my children… However, this version where the vegetables are roasted in the oven is actually my favorite…
It is made of the same vegetables but roasting them in the oven creates a delicious caramelization and concentrates their flavor. Each bite is a sweet burst of sunshine in your mouth!
This will keep a few days in the refrigerator and gets even better as the flavors blend in. It is good warm, at room temperature or cold. It can be served as a side dish for fish or meat, or as the center of a vegetarian meal by adding it to pasta, grains, eggs, or in a wrap or a sandwich… The possibilities are endless.
Roasted ratatouille vegetables
- Preheat oven to 450 deg F. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil.
- Chop eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and onion into 1/2" size pieces.
- Place in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss with a spatula or with your hands to coat evenly. Add more oil if vegetables look dry.
- Divide the vegetables between the 2 baking sheets and spread them in a single layer. Do not overcrowd the sheets or the vegetables will not caramelize properly.
- Sprinkle each sheet generously with salt and pepper.
- Chop the garlic coarsely, and spread half of it over each sheet.
- Place the sheets in the oven, one in the upper third, the other in the lower third. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Keep an eye on the vegetables as they roast. Once or twice during the 30 minutes, take each sheet out and toss the vegetables so they don't stick to the sheet. You may also need to swap the sheets' position so they both cook evenly.
- While the vegetables are roasting, cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
- After 30 minutes, the vegetables should be soft and just starting to brown. Remove the pans from the oven and distribute the tomatoes, giving another toss to incorporate them with the rest of the vegetables.
- Bake for another 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and releasing their juices and their skins are wrinkled. The rest of the vegetables should be nicely browned and caramelized.
- Remove the vegetables to a serving dish. Cut the basil into thin strips and add them to the vegetables. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.