Ratatouille is a longstanding family tradition. It’s also sort of a family joke. Growing up, my mother made ratatouille every single Friday night of my life — and now all my siblings and I make it as well. Ratatouille is not traditionally roasted, but I find it easier and less sweaty, and it elevates this dish by adding a depth of flavor that can only be achieved with roasting. My ratatouille is a gourmet version of my mother’s, but I incorporate her secret touch: roasting fennel in olive oil with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
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- 4 ServingsServings
- 1 large sweet or purple onion, skinned and chopped 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (find fresh garlic with green stems in the summer!)
- 1 radicchio (optional), chopped
- 2 bulbs fennel, peeled and chopped
- 1 large (firm and heavy) eggplant, cubed
- 1 lb. green beans (optional), tailed (meaning: chop off the tails, but not the tops!) and cut in half
- 5 green or yellow zucchini (or any summer squash), cubed
- 8 fresh roma (plum) tomatoes, cubed (feel free to score, blanch and peel if you desire)
- 5 new potatoes (Yukon Gold or small red Bliss), halved or quartered
- 1 large bunch basil, washed well and torn into bite- sized pieces (smaller leaves can be left whole)
- 11⁄2 cups (approximately) extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Kosher salt or coarse sea salt
- 8 ounces tomato sauce or tomato puree (optional)
1 Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2 Line three baking trays with parchment paper.
3 Toss the onion, garlic, radicchio, fennel, eggplant, green beans, zucchini and tomatoes in a mixing bowl. add a splash of olive oil, a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper and a dash of balsamic vinegar and toss.
4 Spread out on a baking tray (or two, if necessary) and roast until just browned.
5 Toss the potatoes with some olive oil and roast separately until browned.
6 As the vegetables complete the cooking cycle, throw them in a bowl or pot along with the fresh basil leaves. You can add more olive oil, salt, pepper, or balsamic vinegar as needed.
7 If you want a much saucier dish you can transfer everything to the stove and add a can of tomatoes (sauce, puree or chopped) and let it simmer for five or ten minutes.
8 Rewarm as needed, in the oven or on the stove — even on a hotplate for Friday night.