1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 medium Japanese eggplants, cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
4 small zucchini or other summer squash, scrubbed and cut into very thin slices
3 small, sweet red peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into ½-inch-thick chunks
1 ½ cups very ripe tomatoes*, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
10 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
¼ cup finely-chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil**
Fine sea salt
*The tomatoes are the foundation of the dish. You need to get full, red tomatoes that have been grown in rich soil and sun-ripened. Tomatoes grown in your own backyard garden are best.
**Low-quality olive oil will ruin your dish! Be sure to buy a variety that is cold-pressed in Italy and tells you the harvest and sell-by dates on the label.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat. Lay one layer of eggplant slices into the bottom of the pot and sprinkle with salt. Cook for 7 minutes, then turn the slices over and cook for another 6 minutes, until the eggplant is tender.
- Place the finished eggplant slices in a colander to drain while you repeat with the remaining eggplant.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, heavy pan over medium heat. Lay one layer of zucchini slices into the bottom of the pot and sprinkle with salt. Cook for 4 minutes, then turn the slices and cook for another 3 minutes, until the zucchini is tender.
- Place the finished zucchini slices in the colander with the eggplant while you repeat with the remaining zucchini.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a third pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 6-7 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and golden brown, and the onion is translucent.
- Add the peppers and a pinch of salt. Cook for 4 minutes, until softened.
- Add the tomatoes and cook on low heat for 4-5 minutes, until the tomatoes have released their liquid into the pot. Then raise the heat to medium high and boil for 2-3 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Put a layer of the pepper/tomato/onion/garlic mixture into the bottom of a 2 1/2-quart casserole. Add a layer of eggplant and a layer of zucchini, and then sprinkle with basil and parsley. Repeat with the rest of the vegetables. Pour the remaining olive oil on top.
- Cover the casserole and simmer over low heat for 9 minutes. Then uncover the casserole, raise the heat to medium-low, and cook until the stew has properly thickened. True Provencal ratatouille should not be watery.
- Serve in ceramic bowls with crusty French bread that you have purchased from a family-owned French bakery.
Prep time: 20 minutes in advance chopping all the vegetables, then 60 minutes dealing with the cooking vegetables, then another hour afterward washing all the frickin’ pots.
Cook time: 60 minutes, during which you will be slaving over pans the whole time, layering vegetables, turning them over, and sticking them in collanders.
Overall appropriateness for Lazy Chefs: You Have Got To Be Kidding. Did I mention how many dishes you would have to wash afterward? This is the kind of recipe that makes lazy people hate cooking.
1 onion, diced
1 large eggplant, cut into cubes
4 small zucchini, sliced into rounds
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
2 pints cherry tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
A dozen fresh basil leaves, chopped
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
½ cup dry rice
- Plop all the ingredients except for the rice and parmesan in a slow cooker. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of salt and a little pepper. Cook on LOW for 8 hours.
- After 8 hours, turn the cooker to WARM, and leave it until you’re ready to eat.
- When you’re ready to eat, prepare the rice according to package directions in a separate pot.
- Divide the rice into 4 bowls and then top with rattatooey and ¼ cup parmesan per bowl. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
- There’s not enough protein or calories in rattatooey for a meal, so you will also need to prepare a protein. I like grilling chicken on my George Foreman and then just tossing the cubed chicken in with everything else.
Nutritional information per serving (without an extra protein):
Prep time: about 20 minutes to chop all the vegetables. A couple minutes sticking rice in a pot and boiling water.
Cook time: 8 hours for the rattatooey, but you don’t have to be there!
20 minutes for white rice or 45 for brown.
Overall appropriateness for Lazy Chefs: Very Good! You hardly have to do anything, especially if you can find someone else to help you chop the vegetables.