I have always had a soft spot for ratatouille, a wonderfully flavoursome and colourful vegetable stew from the south of France. My mum used to make a really tasty one and I have been known to eat canned ratatouille with a spoon when no one is looking. Also, if you have ever seen the Pixar film Ratatouille, there is a beautiful scene where a mean and cynical food critic eats a forkful of ratatouille and the experience takes him back to his childhood and turns him in to a nice person..!
This recipe, from ASDA magazine, is simpler than many ratatouille recipes as you simply cover a dish with a can of tomatoes, garlic, dried herbs, basil and vinegar then chop the vegetables and layer them on top (allow about 20 minutes for this). Bake for around an hour until all the flavours have mingled with each other and then eat it sprinkled with feta cheese alongside some rice. Just gorgeous.
Radiant Ratatouille (serves 4 with rice)
Tin chopped tomatoes
Large clove of garlic, crushed
Small handful of basil, torn or roughly chopped
Shake of dried mixed herbs
Dessert spoon of balsamic, white or red wine vinegar
1 aubergine, sliced
1 courgette, sliced
Approx 4 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 red onions, sliced
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200 degrees. Pour the tin of chopped tomatoes straight in to your casserole dish, add the garlic, basil, mixed herbs, vinegar and oil and mix well.
Arrange the vegetable slices in neat rows with alternating colours e.g. slice of aubergine/courgette/tomato/onion, and keep repeating this until you have filled the dish (as per the picture above). Press the vegetables down in to the tomato mixture. Brush or spray the top of the vegetables with a little oil, to encourage them to turn golden as they bake (this is not essential).
Bake the dish for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the sauce is bubbling hot and the vegetables are tender. Serve sprinkled with a little feta or goats cheese alongside some rice or bread.