Serves: 4
  • 1 large aubergine
  • ½ tsp freshly ground sea salt
  • 500g of courgettes (around 2-3 depending on size)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4-6 tsp olive oil
  • 4 firm vine ripened tomatoes, chopped or 400g tin of Italian tomatoes
  • 100ml red wine
  • ¼ tsp brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Small bunch fresh mint and/or basil
  1. Half the aubergine and dice into chunks. Don’t chop too small here as you want your ratatouille to have texture. Place the aubergine in a colander and sprinkle in the sea salt moving the aubergine around with your hands to ensure a fairly even coverage. Place the colander on a plate and sit a bowl or plate on top of the aubergine to help press out the juices and set aside.
  2. Cut the courgettes into 1cm thick coins. Core and deseed the peppers discarding any white pith and cut into bite size chunks.
  3. Halve and peel the onion. Finely chop one half and cut the other half into chunkier pieces for texture. Finely chop the garlic.
  4. Pour 1 tsp of the olive oil into a heavy based non-stick frying pan and add the onions. When the onions begin to soften and brown slightly add the peppers and cook for a further 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally. Transfer the onions and peppers into a casserole dish. Note that all the vegetables will go through a second round of cooking so the emphasis here is in giving them a bit of colour and helping bring out the flavour.
  5. In the frying pan add a further teaspoon of oil and throw in courgette slices. Once these are coloured on both sides – about a minute each side, then transfer to the casserole dish.
  6. Next, transfer the aubergine from the colander to a bowl by the handful squeezing each handful tightly to press out any remaining bitter liquid. Heat 2 tsp of oil in the frying pan and add the squeezed aubergine. Cook for 3-4 minutes adding a splash more oil if the aubergine starts to stick and then transfer to the casserole dish.
  7. In the pan, fry the garlic for around 30 seconds - you probably won’t need to add any more oil here as the garlic is in the pan for such a short time – then add the garlic to the casserole dish.
  8. To the vegetables and garlic add the tomatoes, wine, sugar, bay leaf, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Place on a low-medium heat and cook covered for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and cook uncovered for a further 15-45 minutes depending on the desired texture. A shorter cooking time will leave the vegetables firmer while a longer cooking time will result in a silkier, softer stew.
  9. To serve, remove the bay leaf and thyme. Tear the basil and mint leaves and sprinkle over the stew. Stir through and serve.
Recipe by Figs & Fennel at http://www.figsandfennel.co.uk/ratatouille/