This ratatouille might look like an intimidating dish, but it’s a simple veggie stew made with colourful tomato, zucchini, eggplant, summer squash, and fragrant herbs baked in a cast-iron skillet or casserole dish until soft and bubbling. Ratatouille is a classic summer dish originating from Provence, in the South of France. Leave it to the French to make a simple stew so impressive! We absolutely love this French-inspired rainbow ratatouille for dinner, and often include it in our weekly rotation.
Excerpted from The Two Spoons Cookbook by Hannah Sunderani© 2022 Hannah Sunderani. Photography by Hannah Sunderani. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw before reheating.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium Add the red onion, garlic, and ¾ teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened, about 10 minutes.
Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and season with the herbes de Provence and 2 teaspoons of the thyme. Cook at a low simmer until the sauce has slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the basil and stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
Starting from the outer edge of the skillet and working your way to the middle, arrange the sliced veggies over the tomato sauce, snugly upright but slightly angled, and alternating the colours (zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, and tomato). Fan them apart slightly, if needed, to cover the entire pan with no large gaps. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and the black pepper.
Cover the skillet with foil or an oven-safe lid and bake the ratatouille for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking until the vegetables are very soft and the ratatouille is bubbling, another 20 to 30 minutes. Garnish with basil leaves just before serving, if desired.