Autumn Ratatouille

Lots of people cook a ratatouille and there are lots and lots of recipes. Unfortunately, to me, many end up being overcooked and "mushy" and some can be a tad bland. To me the secret is to find a way to cook the beautiful vegetables and herbs so that they don't stew, yet allow the flavours to be maximised. These vegetables are still relatively inexpensive in autumn, but you may prefer to wait until late next summer to cook this ratatouille.

Here's my way - yes there are two stages but very easy. This makes quite a large amount

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 courgettes, halved and then quartered lengthwise
  • 4 large red/ yellow capsicums - remove seeds and cut into largish chunks
  • 4 Island eggplants or 1 large eggplant - if Island halved lengthwise, otherwise cut into slices which are not too small
  • 4 large red onions, quartered
  • 4 small vine-ripened tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Generous bunch of thyme - leave as whole stalks
  • Garlic as desired (optional)
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper

Instructions:

Stage 1- on the barbeque hot plate

  1. Heat barbeque hot plate to high temperature and drizzle the oil to just cover the plate
  2. Throw on the courgettes, red onion, eggplant, capsicum and thyme
  3. Cook, tossing and turning.....as you do. Add some salt and a generous amount of pepper
  4. Slightly char the vegetables but don't overcook - this should take about ten minutes max

Stage 2- baked in the oven

  1. Remove the vegetables and thyme from the plate and put into a nice oven proof serving dish
  2. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and drizzle a bit more oil
  3. Preheat oven to 220C and bake for twenty minutes or so - taste and further season as required
  4. Remove from oven and carefully remove any thyme stalks

Ideally let the flavours be enhanced over a few hours or overnight.



Serve warm with steak, whole fillet of beef or on grilled sourdough or ciabatta (if you have children, some grilled bacon with the grilled bread). Or.....serve it with whatever takes your fancy!

Serves 6 as a side dish or 4 as a main course


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