Despite the popularity of the movie of the same name, ratatouille neither contains, nor has ever been made by, rats. It is, however, a popular showcase for garden fresh summer vegetables.
Step 1: Heat oil Place the skillet on medium low heat and add two tablespoons olive oil.
Step 2: Cook onions and garlic Add the onions and cook over low heat for about two minutes. Stir the onions, add the garlic, and continue cooking until onions are soft and translucent, another minute or two.
Step 3: Cook eggplant Add two more tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and turn the heat to medium. Add the chopped eggplant and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is soft, about six to eight minutes.
TIP: Lightly salting the eggplant before you add it to the pan is believed by some to help reduce bitterness. But if you do this, remember not to over-salt later.
Step 4: Cook zucchini and mushrooms Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and stir in the zucchini and mushrooms. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another five to seven minutes.
TIP: If the mushrooms give off a lot of liquid, continue cooking them until most of the moisture evaporates.
Step 5: Add tomatoes and spices Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano, thyme, and fennel seeds and continue to simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the entire mixture is tender.
Step 6: Season salt, pepper, and basil Season with salt and pepper generously, and stir in the fresh basil leaves. Cook for another minute or so until the basil is very fragrant. Adjust the seasoning until it’s to your taste.
Step 7: Serve Serve as a side dish or as a main dish along with a chilled rosé and a crusty baguette and voila you have the makings of a perfect French provincial meal.
FACT: The name 'ratatouille' comes from the French word touiller, meaning 'to stir.'