Alice Waters' Simply Perfect Ratatouille

Updated: Oct 12, 2018

This recipe was shared with me by one of our CSA members.  She was preparing for her mother's birthday.  At first sight of ratatouille, I thought, "For some reason, that dish always seems so complicated to me."  Before I even had a chance to say that, she exclaimed, "And, it's so easy!  Way easier, and tastier, than any ratatouille dish I've ever made!"  Thank you for sharing this recipe, Rachel.  You've re-opened a door to the world of ratatouille for me!

Ingredients: 1 medium or 2 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more to taste 2 medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice 4 to 6 garlic cloves, chopped 1/2 bunch of basil, tied in a bouquet with kitchen twine + 6 basil leaves, chopped Pinch of dried chili flakes 2 sweet peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice 3 medium summer squash or zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice 3 ripe medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice Salt to taste

Directions: 1. Toss eggplant cubes with a teaspoon or so of salt. Set the cubes in a colander to drain for about 20 minutes.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Pat eggplant dry, add to pan, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden. Add a bit more oil if eggplant absorbs all the oil and sticks to bottom of the pan. Remove the eggplant when done and set aside.

3. In the same pot, pour in 2 more tablespoons olive oil. Add onions and cook for about 7 minutes, or until soft and translucent.

4. Add garlic, basil bouquet, dried chili flakes, and a bit more salt. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in peppers. Cook for a few more minutes, then stir in summer squash. Cook for a few more minutes, then stir in tomatoes.

5. Cook for 10 minutes longer, then stir in eggplant and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, until all the vegetables are soft. Remove the bouquet of basil, pressing on it to extract all its flavors, and adjust the seasoning with salt. Stir in the chopped basil leaves and more extra virgin olive oil, to taste. Serve warm or cold. Serves 6 to 8