The French classic Ratatouille is made by cooking each ingredient separately and then cooking it in the oven for 45 minutes. By that time, the vegetables are too soft and quite mushy for me. I prefer my vegetables not overcooked so I made this quick pan-sautéed Ratatouille. It’s perfect for a weeknight dinner when you don’t have to wait 1 1/2 hours for your side dish to cook. Who has the time?
Tips to Prepare Ratatouille
Fresh vegetables are very important in this recipe. Pick firm and shiny zucchini, eggplant, and bell pepper. You can substitute 4 baby round eggplant instead of the Japanese variety. Fresh thyme came from my herb garden outside but you can find them in grocery stores. Just a few snips of this herb gives the Ratatouille a nice flavor. Sometimes I love to add creamy goat cheese (optional) as a garnish on top at the end.
Cutting the vegetables the same size is also important so they all cook at the same time. Cut the zucchini in half crosswise. Next, cut it into quarters lengthwise and chop the 1/2 inch long. Same thing with the eggplant. For the bell pepper, cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and stem. Then cut it again lengthwise in 8 strips. Lastly, chop the strips of bell pepper into 1/2 inch pieces.
I sautéed the onions first in hot olive oil for a few minutes and then added the minced garlic. After the garlic is ready, I add the rest of the vegetables in this order: tomatoes, bell pepper, eggplant, and zucchini. Then sprinkle it with thyme leaves (from 3 sprigs of fresh thyme) and salt and freshly ground pepper. Let this cook for 5 minutes, stir it once, and keep cooking for another 4-5 minutes. Don’t leave the stove at this time because the vegetables might overcook. You still want them to have their bright colors and tender but not mushy. Drizzle it with a bit more olive olive before serving.
So make this rustic Ratatouille as a side dish and you don’t have to worry about slaving in front of the stove for a long time. Au revoir!
Ratatouille Saute - the Quick and Easy Way
- 2 medium zucchini chopped
- 1 Japanese eggplant chopped
- ½ orange or yellow bell pepper chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ medium onion diced
- 1 Roma tomatoes chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil + more for drizzling
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme + more for garnish
- 2 oz. goat cheese (Optional)
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan on medium heat. Add onion into the pan and stir together. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in garlic and stir together. Cook it for another 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper and thyme leaves. Season with a couple pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper (to your taste). Let cook for five minutes.
- Stir it once and leave it to cook for another 4-5 minutes making sure the vegetables still have their bright color and not overcooked. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to your taste.
- Serve it immediately with a garnish of 3 sprigs of fresh thyme on top. (Optional - Top it with pieces of goat cheese.)