Ratatouille Niçoise (Rat-eh-too-ee Nish-eh-swah) is a country French dish of stewed vegetables traditionally made with squash, eggplant, tomato and onions. While it originated in France it is popular throughout the entire Mediterranean coast as an easy summer dish. This potpourri of vegetables is typically prepared as a stew with each vegetable being sautéed to enhance their flavors, then layered into a baking dish and baked for several minutes to complete the cooking process. In Greece ratatouille is called Tourlou or Tourlou Tourlou (pronounced Tood-loo Tood-loo). Since I was also making Pastitsio (Pahs-tee-cho) I gave mine a little Greek flair with artichokes and olives. I also did not have any eggplant on hand… shocking, I know! After all, we are all wild about eggplant in this house. On hand I had fresh zucchini from my local fare farm bag, sunny yellow Summer Squash and a fat juicy red onion from the market. In my pantry I pulled out a jar of artichoke hearts packed in olive oil laced with Italian herbs and seasoning and a jar of pitted Calamata olives. I was also out of fresh tomatoes, we go through those things like wood chippers around here, so I used a can of crushed tomatoes with basil. I keep these canned tomatoes on hand for use in many different recipes. The contents on the ingredients list is simple; Crushed Tomatoes, Salt, Citric Acid and Basil in that order.
Sometimes I saute everything before it goes in to bake, but today I wanted a fresher take and opted to layer everything into my dish raw. It cooks completely in the oven, but still maintains some of it’s original tooth or crunch and the flavors of all the vegetables come through in each bite. You can also prepare this as more of a stew by cooking it as such in a dutch oven on the stove top; serve it over rice, pasta, potatoes or even toast. To do the fresh roasted version as I did here, start by slicing up your squash and onions into relatively even thin slices.
Alternate colors as you layer the sliced vegetables into your 13″ × 9″ baking dish in rows to get a pretty rainbow of color. Season the pan with your Italian herbs, roast or regular garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Now add the artichokes and olive. My artichokes were packed in seasoned olive oil, so I spooned some of that oil over all the rows of squash. Next I spooned on the crushed tomatoes. If you do have fresh tomatoes use them instead, simply slice them thin and put them in with the squash during the layering process. After the crushed tomato, I hit the pan with some additional seasoning.
Pop it into preheated oven for 40 minutes. Allow it to rest a few minutes before serving. This dish makes an excellent side dish for roast meats or any pasta dish. I served mine with Pastitsio which is sort of a Greek Lasagna. According to my silly husband, it also makes an excellent veggie wrap sandwich when you wrap it in a tortilla. 🙂
- 3 Zucchinis
- 3 Yellow Squash
- 1 lg Red onion
- 1 jar Artichoke hearts packed in seasoned oil (it has Italian herbs in it)
- ¼ C Pitted Calamata Olives
- 1 can Crushed Tomato with Basil
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- Dried Italian Herbs
- Roast Garlic Powder
- Preheat the oven to 375º degrees
- Slice the and squash into thin slices.
- Slice the onion in half and then slice the halves into thin slices.
- Layer the sliced veggies into a 13″ × 9″ glass baking dish alternating the yellow and green squash and interspersing it with onion to create a rainbow effect.
- Season the whole pan with salt, pepper, garlic powder and italian herbs.
- Spoon on the artichokes in between the rows of squash and onion.
- Evenly distribute the olives.
- Use a spoon to spoon on some of the oil the artichokes were packed in on top of each row.
- Spoon on the crushed tomato along the rows.
- Bake in a 375º oven for 40 minutes.