Pepperless ratatouille

For a tasty mid-week supper, nothing could be easier than Sophie Grigsons vegetarian stew, which also makes a great accompaniment to a meat dish
By Sophie Grigson
Pepperless ratatouille
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes plus 30 minutes degorging time
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 1 large aubergines, cut into 2.5cm chunks
  • 3 medium courgettes, thickly sliced
  • salt, for degorging, optional
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp caster sugar, optional
  • 1 handfuls basil, leaves only, roughly torn or cut up

To serve

  • white-fleshed sweet potatoes, baked

Method

1. If you have time, spread the aubergine and courgettes out in colanders and sprinkle with salt. Leave to degorge for at least 30 minutes or even longer. Rinse and wipe dry before using.

2. Line a big plate with a double layer of kitchen paper.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan and fry the aubergine cubes until browned and tender, adding a little more oil if necessary. Scoop out of the pan onto the kitchen paper.

4. Add another tablespoon or so of oil to the pan, heat through, and fry the courgettes until browned and tender. Scoop out onto the paper-lined plate.

5. Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the onion over a gentle heat until tender, without browning. Add the garlic and coriander and fry for another minute.

6. Add the bay leaf, thyme, tinned tomatoes, puree, sugar and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Simmer together for 5 minutes until thick, then add the aubergine and courgettes to the pan.

7. Simmer for another 5 minutes or so, adding a dash of water if the sauce seems to be catching on the base of the frying pan. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

8. Turn off the heat and stir in the basil.

9. To serve, scoop the ratatouille into a serving dish and eat hot, warm or at room temperature with baked white-fleshed sweet potatoes.

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