The ratatouille is a typical dish of the French culinary tradition based on sautéed or baked mixed vegetables. A recipe reminiscent of the Italian “caponata”, perfect to accompany meat-based second courses or even as a tasty single dish if accompanied with rice.
The ratatouille is a typical dish of the French culinary tradition based on sautéed or baked mixed vegetables. A recipe reminiscent of the Italian “caponata”, perfect to accompany meat-based second courses or even as a tasty single dish if accompanied with rice. Ratatouille has become famous thanks to the Disney movie, and now it is now a dish known and appreciated all over the world for its taste and its simplicity. How to best prepare it? Here are the mistakes you should not make in the original French recipe!
5 mistakes not to be made for a perfect ratatouille
How to choose vegetables
The original recipe for ratatouille includes garlic, onion, peppers, eggplants, zucchini and tomatoes. The red onion has a sweeter taste than the white one, which in this case goes better with the rest of the vegetables. Are you undecided about eggplants? Don't worry, they are good both long and purple, just be careful to eliminate the seeds if there are too many. Choose the red and yellow peppers, which give flavor and color to your dish, and also in this case remove the seeds and the core. If you do not have the tomatoes, don’t worry, you can also use tomatoes pulp or peeled tomatoes. In the original recipe there are no potatoes, but if you want to use them the ratatouille will look like another famous tasty side dish: the ciambotta!
Onion or garlic?
The ratatouille is a poor recipe of peasant origin, so there is no doubt: garlic and onion, both! Be careful to cut the onion into slices and brown it over a low heat so as not to burn it, because a burned onion would ruin the ratatouille! Peel the garlic and remove the core so as to make it more digestible. Don't be stingy with the quantities, if you prepare the ratatouille for 4 people use two or three cloves of garlic.
In what order?
To prepare a perfect ratatouille, it is very important to cook vegetables in the right order. In the traditional French recipe the different vegetables are cooked separately and only at the end they are combined and mixed together. Start with the onion and garlic, which you should lightly brown without cooking them, then using a slotted spoon remove them from the oil and sauté the peppers for 5 minutes. When the peppers are almost ready, remove them from the pan and cook the zucchinis. Finally, when the zucchinis are also cooked, cook the eggplants, adding a little oil if necessary. Only at the end, when all the vegetables are ready, put them in the pan, add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
How to cut vegetables
The ratatouille is a dish that is good to eat and good to look at, so it is important that the vegetables are cut into cubes and that the dimensions are the same; the perfect size is between one and two centimeters. In this way the cooking will be uniform and the vegetables will not flake during cooking. Every rule has exceptions: the onion must be cut into slices, in this way it will be recognizable in the dish and it will not be lost in the rest of the ingredients; instead, the tomatoes must be cut in half and, if they are very small, they must be cooked after having pricked them with a toothpick. Alternatively, if you want to prepare a more spectacular dish you can cut all the vegetables into slices, just like in the famous Disney movie.
Spices and aromas
Even in the case of spices and aromatic herbs, for the preparation of ratatouille don’t be shy: give flavor to your vegetables with thyme, rosemary, fresh basil, sage and marjoram. The ratatouille is a poor dish but rich in flavor, season each vegetable with salt and pepper during cooking and don’t spare yourself with extra-virgin olive oil, only in this way you will get a real ratatouille!