RECIPE: Well-timed multitasking makes weeknight ratatouille easy

Credit: Henri Hollis

Credit: Henri Hollis

Despite what you may assume from watching a certain animated movie, or perhaps from reading overly complicated recipes, ratatouille is not, at its core, a challenge to make. It’s even simple enough to pull off in 30 minutes, as long as you plan to multitask.

Start by heating a generous amount of olive oil in a Dutch oven or deep saute pan. While the oil heats, peel and slice an onion into thick strips; by the time you’re finished with your knife work, the oil will be hot and you can add the onion slices and a pinch of salt. Let the onion cook while you do the same with eggplant (I like the slender, quick-cooking Japanese eggplants, but you can use a single, small Italian eggplant if you’d like), followed by zucchini, and lastly, a large red pepper.

Once all of the vegetables are starting to get soft, dump in a whole pint-sized box of cherry tomatoes, give it a stir, then cover and let the melange simmer away for about 10 minutes. It’s enough time for the tomatoes to break down and turn saucy, and to finish off any final cooking the vegetables may need. Serve on top of quick polenta, steamed rice, or, if you really want to make it easy, warm bread.

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Credit: Henri Hollis

Credit: Henri Hollis