(pronounced rat-a-too-ee) is a mixture of vegetables that goes well with a light meal like chicken or turkey. It relies upon aubergine (a dark-skinned vegetable shaped a little like a short, fat cucumber!) for its very distinctive flavour.
How to make Ratatouille:
Slice the onion and peel and crush (mince) the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a flameproof casserole dish and add the onions and garlic. Fry these gently for about ten minutes until the onion softens and becomes translucent. Cut the aubergine (eggplant) into slices about ½" (1cm) thick and then cut each slice into about six pieces. Add these to the casserole and 'fry' for about 5 minutes, turning frequently.
Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients... Cut the pepper in half, remove the stem, core and seeds then cut into pieces about ½" - ¾" (1cm - 2cm) square (don't measure them - that's only a guide!!). Remove the ends of the courgettes then slice them about ¾" (2cm) thick. Peel the tomatoes and slice them about ¼" (0.5cm) thick.
Optionally, you can add potatoes to your ratatouille. Some people can find ratatouille a little acidic and potatoes help to remove this. Just peel them, dice them into cubes of about ½" (1cm), rinse them in water to remove excess starch and add them to your other vegetables
Add all these ingredients to the casserole, season liberally with salt and freshly-ground pepper and stir well. Cover the casserole and place in a preheated moderate oven Mk 4 - 350ºF - 180ºC for one hour. Serve hot with main course or cold as a starter.
To add a touch of Mediterranean sunshine, add 10 or 12 stoned black olives to the ratatouille just before serving.