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Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. The full name of the dish is ratatouille niçoise.

Left: A bowl of ratatouille.

The word ratatouille comes from Occitan ratatolha and the recipe comes from Occitan cuisine. It is also used in French (touiller, also means to toss food).

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Ratatouille is usually served as a side dish, but also may be served as a meal on its own (accompanied by rice or bread). Tomatoes are a key ingredient, with garlic, onions, courgettes (zucchini), aubergine (eggplant), bell peppers (poivron), carrot, marjoram and basil, or bay leaf and thyme, or a mix of green herbs like herbes de Provence.

Left: Preparation of ratatouille.

There is much debate on how to make a traditional ratatouille. One method is to simply saute all of the vegetables together. Some cooks insist on a layering approach, where the aubergine and the courgettes are sauteed separately, while the tomatoes, onion, garlic and bell peppers are made into a sauce. The ratatouille is then layered in a casserole aubergine, courgettes, tomato/pepper mixture then baked in an oven.


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