Provence in the summer is a magical place.  Once can drive for miles and miles on two lane roads through field of lavender, sunflowers and when you arrive at a little town, count on a restaurant serving farm to table, just as they have done for decades, no centuries.  You will find very little, if any boxed foods and the locals would have it no other way.  Ratatouille is one of those side dishes you just might find on most of the menus in those little restaurants.  Pronounced,  “Ha-ti-too-we”, has been a staple in the south of France diet for generations. You will find, if you search, a variety of recipes with many French chefs having their own version and philosophy of this classic.  Some will bake in the oven, some make this on the stove top, some will have a special method of layering the vegetables and some will make a puree’ of the vegetables to layer between the vegetables and one version even has you cooking each vegetable separately.  No matter who prepares it or how, each time you re-heat the dish, it’s even more savory.  Over the years, I have tried many different recipes, have taken a few tips and tricks from each one and  have added a few of my own and here’s what I have come up with.  If you have not yet made Ratatouille before, you too with take my ‘outline,’  and make it your own, depending on what you have on hand and what flavors your ‘People’ most enjoy…Who knows, you may even be inspired to make a trip to Provence,  see a movie that takes place there or read a book of classic French cooking…Either way, you have a delicious side dish for dinner and to keep in the fridge for a few days to enjoy with some goat/Feta cheese, good bread or some leftover chicken or or lamb chops.  Here you go…

This is the place we stayed at in the south of France. The main building was an old Church that had been converted to a main building. The scent in the air, that summer we were there, was a combination of a variety of florals, predominately, Jasmine. It was absolutely incredible.


-Olive Oil, about 5 Tablespoons, used at different times

-1 large eggplant, about 1 1/2 pounds, large diced (after dicing, place in a colander and sprinkle with salt and let stand for about 2o minutes, before sautéing.

-Coarse salt, ground

-Freshly ground black pepper

-2 zucchini squash, about 3/4 pound, large diced

-2 yellow summer squash, about 3/4 pound, large diced

-1 medium yellow onion, diced

-4 cloves minced garlic

-3-4 medium tomatoes, about 1 pound, large diced

-4 sprigs fresh thyme

-1 Bay leaf

-1 large pepper, large diced

-1 approx. 3 inch sprig fresh Rosemary

-1/2 cup fresh basil leaves loosely packed

-1/4 cup fresh parsley (I prefer flat leaf on this dish, either is good though)

-Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish


Have all ingredients out and prepared so you are ready to go when it's time to cook.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and have all ingredients out, diced/minced and ready to go in bowls.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven then add the salted eggplant that has been sitting for at least 20 minutes in the colander.  Sauté in the heated oil for about 2 minutes, adding some freshly ground pepper.  When done, add to a baking dish or Pyrex glass dish.
  3. Add 2 more tablespoons to the Dutch oven, heat and then sauté the zucchini and yellow summer squash for about 2 minutes and layer over eggplant in the same baking dish.
  4. Lower heat to medium, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, sauté the onion, season with salt and pepper, stirring until softened and beginning to brown, about 5-6 minutes.  Add the minced garlic, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf, stirring for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.  Now add the tomatoes and the bell pepper.  Bring to a simmer and turn heat down to medium-low, stirring  occasionally for about 12 minutes.
  5. Pour tomato mixture over all other layers of vegetables in the baking dish.  Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and bake in preheated oven for at least 20 minutes.  While dish bakes, you can prepare the rest of your dinner and set the table.  About the time all of that is down, your dish is ready.
  6. When dish is done baking, remove from oven and set on top of stove.  Stir in fresh basil and flat leaf parsley.  Sprinkle a little more freshly grated Parmesan, and serve…Bon Appetit…It’s a Great Day 🍆
One more photo from the little inn we stayed at in Provence.

Mary Yana’s Marvelous Monday Mystery Manja…


A Classic from the south of France

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