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
- Adjust seasoning
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.