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Ratatouille

Serves 10

  • 3 aubergines, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 1 ½ courgettes, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 2 red onions, finely sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¾ red pepper, sliced
  • 3-4 tbs olive oil
  • 1lb tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence, or fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • tomato puree is an optional extra that thickens the sauce

Place the aubergine and courgette in a large bowl and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt, stir and transfer to a colander. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Fry off the onion in a small amount of olive oil for about 4 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook together for a minute. Transfer into a large pan, cast iron is perfect. Add the red pepper.

Rinse the aubergines and courgettes and dry with a tea towel or kitchen roll. In small batches fry off the aubergines, adding additional olive oil as it is soaked up. Allow them to colour but only turn once (turning more frequently makes the aubergine give up the oil). Next fry the courgettes.

Add the aubergine and courgettes to the pan with the onions, sprinke over the herbs and add the tomatoes. Simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes, then take the lid off and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to drive off excess juices. Stir occasionally to stop burning on the bottom.

Taste and season before serving hot, reheated or cold. Any spare can be frozen!

Tip: Salting inevitably tastes the dish even after rinsing so wait until the sauce had thickened before adjusting the seasoning.

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