This famous French dish has been exported in many variations; in Italy it is prepared under various pseudonyms: some call it a "casserole" of vegetables, others say "stewed vegetables", who knows how many names it has....
It is not easy to find the original recipe because even in France many variations exist; this is the version prepared by the famous "little chef", Remy the mouse, in the Pixar cartoon; more similar to the Provencal tian, but very tasty and spectacular to look at.
For the base sauce
- half a yellow pepper and half a red pepper
- 3 ripe tomatoes
- 2 white onions
- 2 teaspoons of mixed Provencal herbs (oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme, summer savoury)
For the vegetables
- 2 small aubergines
- 4 tomatoes from a bunch
- 2 large zucchini
For the dressing
- 1 tablespoon of base sauce
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
This is a dish to prepare slowly and patiently: both because the vegetables must be chosen with care - they should all be the same size - and because it needs to cook in the oven for a long time. If you haven't got much time, or much patience, you can still make a fantastic ratatouille by cutting all the vegetables into chunks of the same size. It will be easier and not so good to look at, but the taste will be the same.
First of all you must prepare the base sauce: clean the peppers, put them in a roasting pan lined with baking paper (with the cut side down) and cook them in the oven, at 230°, for 15-20 minutes or until the skin peels off. Peel the tomatoes and dice them finely. Chop the onions finely and brown them slightly in a pan with two tablespoons of olive oil; add the tomatoes with their juice and the Provencal herbs and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, over a low heat, seasoning with salt and pepper as required. Add the peppers to the pan and leave to cook for another ten minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Put aside a tablespoon of sauce for later on and pour the rest into the bottom of an oven dish (earthenware if possible).
Then move on to washing the vegetables and cutting them into slices about 2 mm thick. Start placing the slices on top of the sauce, following a spiral pattern, leaving half of the surface free. Finally, sprinkle the vegetables with the Provencal herbs, cover the dish with baking foil and put it in the oven, at 130°, for 2 hours. Before you take it out of the oven, remove the kitchen foil and grill for a few minutes.
Before serving, lace with a dressing made by mixing the base sauce, put aside previously, into an emulsion with oil and vinegar.