I know I'm not the only one that pondered making ratatouille [pronounced: rat-ah-too-ee] after watching the movie itself. I'm no French expert, but when I cook, I like to know the history of what I make. Ratatouille comes from the word 'touiller' which means to toss or stir and it was originated in present day Nice as a poor farmer's stew of vegetables.
The beauty of this versatile dish is that you can use any ingredient you wish or have on hand, and it can be eaten in various forms [a side dish, a topper with quinoa, an omlette filling, a sandwich stuffer, or even simply with a baguette] Here is my adaptation of the perfect Fall season stew:
1 large eggplant, peeled (optional) and diced
3 zucchini, peeled (optional) and diced
1 large onio, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, cored and sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 8oz. can tomato paste
3 tomatoes, peeled (optional) and diced
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Herbes de Provence
Handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
Handful parmigiano-reggiano, grated
1. Toss the eggplant and zucchini with salt for about one hour. Rinse and dry well to remove salt, therefore, removing the bitterness. Note: I always use this method to prep any eggplant dish so as to extract the vegetable's true flavor.
2. Add one tbsp of olive oil to the slow cooker and add the zucchini and eggplant.
3. Sautee the garlic, bell peppers, and onions over medium heat for ten minutes or when the vegetables have softened. Add to slow cooker.
4. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, thyme, black pepper, herbes de provence, and cayenne pepper. Note: the amount of seasoning is up to your liking. The beauty of this stew is that exact proportions are not crucial.
5. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 hours.
6. Add the basil and parmigiano last and mix it well in to the stew.
Enjoy! And if you decide to recreate a version of this, or any future dishes, please send me pictures and let me know how it turned out! Don't forget to tag and hashtag @sobiasiddiqui and #modalacarte on IG.