With its origin in the area around Provence and Nice where I spent all my summers as a child, the word “ratatouille” originally meant a coarse stew as "touiller" or "ratouiller" means to stir in French. Ratatouille is a dish I make weekly all year round, because besides being loved by all at home, it is extremely versatile and packed full of vitamins and nutrients.
2-3 medium courgettes
2 medium white onions
2 peppers ( preferably 1 red and 1 green for extra rainbow appeal!)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
6 fresh vine tomatoes
400g jar of organic tomato passata
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
3-4 tablespoon olive oil
Chorizo, diced or sliced
Chickpeas, cooked and drained
Pitted black olives
prep time: 15mins
cook time: 1hr
First of all, clean, peel, core or deseed all vegetables. I don't skin the tomatoes, but it is up to you.
Chop all the vegetables in chunks (not too small to keep some texture)
In a large saucepan, add 3 or 4 tablespoon of olive oil
Add the onions and garlic and gently fry for about 10 minutes until soft and golden
If adding chorizo, add now and fry for a further 10 minutes
Next add salt and pepper, and paprika if using and stir really well
Add all the chopped vegetables and stir
Simmer very gently, covered, for at least 30 minutes, until all the vegetables have softened
If using, add chickpeas or olives at this stage
After that time, add the tomato passata, check the seasoning and cook for a further 15-30 minutes
the health boost tip
As I said right at the beginning, I make this almost every Sunday afternoon, ready to be re-heated for busy Monday nights. Here are some of the many ways I change it up all year long : served as a side with roast or grilled chicken, as a chunky stew with wild rice, whizzed up as a pasta sauce, cold as a dip with warm toasted flat breads, warmed up with a egg in the middle for added protein...The list goes on.
It is a brilliant way to add extra vegetable portions in your children's meals and can be tailored or tweaked for all taste buds.