My Lebanese grandmother would often make something very similar to this ratatouille which we knew in Arabic as mtab’a. At the age of 15, I finally had a “French” ratatouille no where else but in Provence, made by my French step-mom’s father. I always loved my grandmother’s mtab’a and so embraced ratatouille immediately. It’s very satisfying served as a main meal with a good chunk of rustic bread (Pain de Campagne), or goes well as an accompaniment to fish, meat or rice. Enjoy it warm or cold!
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 2 medium sized onions, roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, passed through a garlic press
- 1 tbsp dried herbes de Provence
- 1 cup of white wine
- 2 medium eggplants, roughly chopped and salted (degorger les legumes- as the French say.) I prefer not to peel them.
- 2 medium courgettes/squash, roughly chopped
- 3 bell peppers, roughly chopped
- 6 mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 5 medium tomatoes, quartered
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan on medium-low heat, add the onions, garlic and the dried herbes de provences, cover and sweat for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft and everything is aromatic. Pour in the wine, keeping the lid removed, and allow the wine to evaporate by half then add the remaining vegetables, herbs, salt and pepper, cover with the lid and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. When you are ready to serve, pour over a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Don’t forget to stir the veggies often so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot or burn. The name ratatouille is actually derived from French verb that mean “to toss”. Here’s some history on the ratatouille.