Courgette, Beetroot and Potato Ratatouille
Dominic Franks adds a touch of colour to your plate with a deliciously hearty ratatouille with a seasonal twist.
February can be a dull month. Even though the promise of spring feels just around the corner, we’re very much still in winter, so I like to add a little colour and spice to my food. I love messing with traditional dishes, particularly when you need to use up what’s in the fridge, so I’m using beetroot instead of red pepper for this ratatouille. I’m also using a homemade tomato sauce which is utterly beautiful and a breeze to make – plus it’s versatile, so works as a sauce for pizza, pasta, or with meatballs.
• To make the tomato sauce, sauté the onions in a pan with a little olive oil until they begin to soften. A medium heat is good as you don’t want them to burn. Stir in the garlic and half the fresh and all the dry oregano and let the onions cook gently until they begin to colour – another 4 min should do it.
• Pour in the tomatoes, then refill the tins with stock and pour that in too. Add the puree, balsamic vinegar, white wine and sugar and season well.
• Let the sauce come to a boil, then turn down the heat to the very lowest and let it gently plop away for at least two hours. It should reduce by half, if not more. Stir in the remaining fresh oregano at the end. Let it cool before you use it.
• To make the ratatouille I used my small cast iron cassoulet pot with a lid, which is roughly 15cm, although any heavy pan which is suitable for the oven and has a lid would work.
• Place the sliced beetroot into a pan of boiling water and let them simmer for 5 min, drain and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper, then set aside.
• Do the same with the potatoes. You want to take the hard edge off them, so a few minutes’ parboiling will do that. Once drained, add a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a little butter and stir well, then set aside.
• Place the courgettes into a bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Drizzle over some olive oil. I used a wonderful lemon olive oil which was perfect.
• Now you’re ready to build the ratatouille. Place a generous layer of tomato sauce at the bottom of the pan and then stack the slices of vegetables on their edges. Ensure you alternate the colours. I saved the potatoes for the middle of the pan. Drizzle over some olive oil and then place the lid on.
• Bake on 180˚C (fan) for 25-30 min until everything is gloriously golden and you have a divine dish!