Oven-Roasted Ratatouille Recipe

Ratatouille Confite au Four

[Oven-Roasted Ratatouille]

The quality and selection of produce is often a good criterion by which to judge a grocery store and its general attractiveness/cleanliness, because it’s the first thing to look terrible if it’s not carefully taken care of. A bit like peeking at the state of somebody’s fingernails — not that I actually do this and draw any conclusion, oh no, really no, I wouldn’t.

And since the produce aisle is often placed right at the entrance, it can serve as a warning, much like the stereotypical skull in the first chamber of an ancient, abandoned temple (“proceed with caution, there are dead vegetables in here!”). I have on occasion been so efficiently put off by the depressing sight in an unknown supermarché, that I have turned my heels and walked out before I even passed the weighing scales. How anyone can treat innocent salads with such cruelty is beyond me.

Luckily my own corner grocery store, which was completely redone into a shinier version of its old self about a year ago, maintains a satisfactory produce aisle. Above average is how I would qualify it: I’ve seen better, but I’ve seen far, far worse, and it’s good enough for my needs when I haven’t had the time or the opportunity or the energy to go to the market or the produce store.

One smart thing I have noticed the other day is that they sell little veggie bundles, pre-selected assortments that allow you to make a pot-au-feu (carrots, leeks, onion, turnip, thyme and bay leaf — meat sold separately!) or a ratatouille (eggplant, zucchini, onions, tomatoes and thyme).

I was initially a little suspicious — bundles are a widely-used strategy to do away with what wouldn’t otherwise sell — but upon inspection it all looked very fresh. I also had my reservations about the packaging (a plastic crate in shrink wrap) but then I reflected that if you’re going to buy all these vegetables separately, each kind will have to be put in a separate plastic bag for weighing, so it probably doesn’t make much of a difference. And can you believe that for the whole length of this heated self-debate, I didn’t even think to check the price? That’s what gets me every time, all these issues to consider that have so much more significance than mundane financial questions.

So I got one of each, and I have to admit that it is mighty convenient for the speedy shopper — if you don’t lose yourself in the throes of culinary doubt and ecological considerations, that is. And so with all the ingredients for a nice ratatouille in my kitchen, I decided to branch off from the regular stovetop cooking method and make an oven-baked ratatouille. I also ignored the dried thyme that was provided in my bundle and used fresh thyme and rosemary because I had it on hand.

And wow, the results largely surpassed my expectations. In my experience, ratatouilles (and I’m not talking about the method in which you cook every vegetable separately, which certainly yields good results but is a little too time-consuming for everyday cooking) run the risk of ending up mushy from excessive stirring, the eggplant a little bitter and spongy and the whole thing somewhat waterlogged. No such thing here: my oven ratatouille turned out delightfully tasty, almost sweet with a wonderful roasted flavor, the texture so rich and pleasing it almost felt like you were eating dessert — and you know how I feel about desserts.

As with any ratatouille, it tasted even better the next day and the day after that, so it’s an ideal make-ahead dish. It works equally well hot, at room temperature or cold, and was just the perfect lunch to bring into the office with a couple of poached eggs that you break with your fork, the velvety yolk melding in with the juicy vegetables.

Ratatouille Confite au Four

– 2 onions
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1 eggplant (if you want to make the traditional ratatouille from Nice, hold the eggplant)
– 1 zucchini
– 2 green peppers
– 8 small tomatoes
– 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
– 3 sprigs fresh thyme
– olive oil
– salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Peel and slice the onion and garlic. Rinse the remaining vegetables, trim and slice them. Rinse the herbs. Combine everything in an oven-proof dish. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil (about two tablespoons). Toss a little more to ensure even coating.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. At this point the vegetables should be cooked but not colored, and there should be cooking juices at the bottom of the pan.

Remove the foil and bake for another 30 to 45 minutes, keeping an eye on the progress, until the cooking juices have evaporated and the vegetables have taken on a nice roasted aspect.

Remove the sprigs of herb, and serve immediately, or at room temperature, or cold. It gets even better the next day and the day after that.

  • http://cavolettodibruxelles.blogspot.com Sigrid

    This ratatouille seems also very nice, but I just wanted to have a little word about your fabulous asparagus and strawberry tart: it kind of inspired me for a more italian-style recipe, you can check it out here,asparagus and strawberry risotto,
    If you need a translation (it’s all in italian), you’re welcome of course,
    Sigrid

  • Madeleine

    This looks wonderful, and absolutely perfect for all of the these vegetables I have from the farmers’ market.

  • Erin

    One of my favorite summer meals! Pretty soon all of the ingredients will be springing from my garden!

  • http://oswegotea.blogspot.com Michele

    Ratatouille is one of those dishes that reminds me of my childhood and was the first recipe that I ever collected. I grew up in a small town in Canada and went to an all french speaking school. My teacher was from France and she sent a classroom of 7 year olds home one day with a recipe for Ratatouille that I kept for years and years. I’m sure the recipe is still packed away somewhere with all my other childhood paraphenalia. I’ve made variations of it since then, usually with eggplant, and I especially love eating it on its own with crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese.
    By the way Clotilde, I’ve just started reading your blog and I think it’s fantastic. Thanks!

  • michael

    that looks wonderful, but ratatouille will always be the long, vegetable-at-a-time affair that i learned from my french host mom during a summer in st roman de bellet, just inland from nice. i still make it that way. to say that that was the summer that lit my palate afire is an understatement. i’ve never eaten so consistently well, nor learned so much in a kitchen since. but of course, my culinary awakening could only have occurred in france. what good fortune that it was in provence and the cote d’azur! wherever mme tozzi is now, i’m sure she’s cooking up a storm and making some people very happy.

  • Ann/brighidsdaughter

    Thank you! I love ratatouille but have only ever made it the traditional way. Have always wanted to know a way that wasn’t so time consuming. Love roasted veggies too, so I *must* make this on the weekend.

  • Rainey

    Ratatouille is one of my very favorite foods. I have never thougth of having it with a poached egg but I will, surely, try it this summer.

    I like it with crumbled goat cheese. The sharpness and creaminess of the cheese compliment it nicely, I think.

  • willson

    Made this yesterday. Doubled the recipe ’cause we’ve got a hungry 17 year old boy here and I wanted leftovers.

    I added a jar of tomatoes because the ones I could get here did not seem very “rich” so I thought I needed a boost to the tomato flavor. Used only ground herbs as I did not have fresh.

    The oven time covered was 20 minutes more (due to the volume of veggies) and the uncovered cooking time I increased to a whole hour; stirring/mixing occasionaly.

    Very nice result and quite low effort. I’d do it again. . . . Thanks.

  • http://www.lindamathieu.com Linda

    I first tasted this when my French husband, from Nice, made it for me. He cooks it on top of the stove but I think the roasting will add a whole new taste to it.
    A link to my blog on living in France, Frenchless in France, http://www.lindamathieu.com
    Linda

  • Jean-Paul

    Dodo fait comme cela depuis longtemps. Avec un bon roti de porc un régal.

  • http://myspace.com/theairbornetoxicevent Anna

    I have been looking up ratatouille recipes all week, and alighted on this one. It is unbelievably delicious, and foolishly easy. I didn’t use any peppers–didn’t have any–but substituted organic carrots, and it still came out excellently. The eggplant is perfect. I don’t normally love zucchini, but the flavor is gorgeous in this recipe. I will be making this with various combinations of things all summer long… Thank you!

  • Victorine

    I just saw Ratatouille the other day and now have an urge to see if the actual dish is as tasty as it looks in the movie. Thank you Clotilde!

  • http://www.gailanderson.org Gail

    I love making roasted vegetables (typically with red peppers, red onion and zucchini), so this ratatouille recipe looks absolutely delicious! Also, I grow both rosemary and thyme and love to use these in dishes. Thank you for the post. I will be trying this out soon.

  • http://www.revolutionhealth.com/pages/ratatouille---the-film-and-recipe Jennifer Randall

    Thanks so much for this post. It’s great to hear your perspective on a method *not* cooking each vegetable separately! I posted a link to your page.

  • Peg

    I made this and it was easy and delicious. But what did I do wrong? It took over 3 1/2 hours to cook. Yes it tasted great the next day, but we ate dinner without it the same day. Beware if you plan on serving this the same day.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Peg – The only explanation I can think of is that perhaps your oven runs a little low? It might be a good idea to check with an oven thermometer…

  • Sam

    I took my boys to see Pixar’s Ratatouille on the weekend, and they are itching for me to cook them the dish. We are in Australia, so they are thrilled at learning a French word! I will try your version, as it is oven roasted and “true to the movie”. Good way to get some veggies into unsuspecting kiddies!!

  • Pat

    I made your oven roasted ratatouille this past weekend for 60 people, and it was terrific! Naturally, I made a few changes: used yellow and red bell peppers instead of green, and since it was such a huge amount, decided I would add the herbs late, as I didn’t want them to burn. Basically, it was the process of covering the vegetables with foil to trap the juices, then removing the foil to carmelize them, that rendered the outcome so profoundly wonderful. The flavors were so pure that I decided to leave the herbs out all together. Thanks. I was not looking forward to sauteeing vegetables for three hours in buckets of olive oil.

  • Sarah

    this recipe is one of the easier ratatouille ones i have seen and i can’t wait to make it for dinner tonight! do you serve this over anything?…rice, orzo pasta, giant pearl couscous… what else goes along with this for dinner? a green salad?

  • http://www.smarterfitter.com/blog monica

    I’m making this at the moment! I’m sure it will be wonderful. Just wondering, how large do you slice your vegetables for this?

  • Kerry

    I made this over the weekend and it was wonderful. I didn’t think that I added that many more veggies (3 stalks of celery and some green olives) but I also had to roast it about another hour before it reached the consistency that I was looking for. Very nice, though.

  • qvole

    I had partial red & yellow bell peppers to use up, so I got a few tiny eggplants & zucchini at the farmers’ mkt & went looking for a ratatouille recipe — yours is so much easier than the usual way, & with tastier results. I added a small sweet potato & some mushrooms — no fresh herbs, so I used dry herbs de Provence — all worked fine.

    I served it over polenta with goat cheese on top & it’s lovely.

    Thanks very much indeed.

  • Ena

    So easy to make, I changed it a bit, since there are no fresh tomatoes I used a bit of canned tomatoes, 1 onion and a green, red and yellow pepper, it was a feast for the eyes as well as for the stomach.:-)

  • http://beurreetpain.blogspot.com Honeybee

    I am making this right now but I forgot to add thyme and rosemary in the beginning and forgot the tomatoes alltogether (??). Breastfeeding sure messes up your brain a bit. Hope it will taste nice anyway.

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