Ratatouille Méridionnale

Méridionnale is the southern region of France famous for its ratatouille, classic in that it contains tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, onions, and eggplant, but unusual in that it is cooked gently in the oven, not on the stovetop. This is according to Daniel Boulud, in his cookbook, “Café Boulud Cookbook,” published in 1999.

I bought the cookbook after going to Café Boulud in New York City, not once, but twice during the same visit back in 2010. My daughter and I stayed at the Surrey Hotel, located adjacent to the restaurant. I had accompanied my daughter to New York City for a major interview, which all turned out well.

To make our first night easy I’d made a reservation at Café Boulud, and it was so perfect that went went the next day for lunch. The food, the service, the ambiance – all was truly perfection. One thing that I remember is that when you were brought the check, it came with just-out-of-the-oven Madeleines.

The cookbook is uniquely divided into four parts.
1. La Tradition – the traditional dishes of French cooking
2. La Saison – the seasonal specialties of the market
3. Le Voyage – dishes from lands far and near, and
4. Le Potager – vegetarian dishes that celebrate the bounty of the garden.

So many recipes jumped out at me when I first read the book. A roasted chicken stuffed with a Tuscan bread filling that included chicken livers and prosciutto, for example, and veal chops stuffed with fontina and porcini. But I chose this ratatouille recipe, from the “La Tradition” section.

Right now my garden is abundant with most all of the ingredients in this hearty vegetable dish, so there’s no better time than the present to make ratatouille.

Ratatouille Méridionnale

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled, split, and germ removed
1 onion, peeled, trimmed, cut into 1” chunks
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, deveined, cut into 1” chunks
2 yellow bell peppers, as above
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 small eggplant, about 4 ounces, trimmed, cut into 1” chunks
1 zucchini, scrubbed, trimmed, cut into 1” chunks
1 yellow squash, scrubbed, trimmed, cut into 1” chunks
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, cut into 1” chunks
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon thinly sliced basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In order for the vegetables to retain their distinctive flavors, you will need either to cook them in batches or to cook them in two separate sauté pans.

Warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add 1 clove of garlic, the onion, and the chunks of red and yellow pepper. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften a bit but don’t take on color, about 5 minutes.

Either remove the vegetables and wipe out the pan or, while the peppers are cooking, take another sauté pan and warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the second clove of garlic, the eggplant, zucchini, and squash and cook and stir for 8 to 10 minutes, this time allowing the vegetables to color a bit.

Combine the sautéed vegetables in one large ovenproof sauté pan or baking dish and stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover the pan with a circle of parchment paper, pressing the paper against the vegetables.


Put the pan in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, stirring the ratatouille every 15 minutes or so.

The ratatouille is done when the vegetables are meltingly tender but still retain their shape. Remove the bay leaves and garlic.

Serve while it’s hot, or when it reaches room temperature. Just before serving, stir in the basil leaves and the squirt of lemon juice.

The ratatouille can be made up to 3 days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.

Before serving, bring it to room temperature or warm it gently in a slow oven.

I served the ratatouille with roasted chicken. Simple and delicious.

I was really surprised after all the cooking time as well as stirring that the pieces of vegetables remained intact. I have seen many a ratatouille look like mush.

So it’s for that reason alone that I will make this recipe for ratatouille again. It’s pretty, delicious, and perfect for a glut of ripe vegetables.

By Published On: September 9th, 201957 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

57 Comments

  1. Travel Gourmet September 9, 2019 at 6:18 AM - Reply

    What a gorgeous ratatouille recipe and one of my favourite dishes :)

    • chef mimi September 9, 2019 at 6:19 AM - Reply

      Oh really? Did you happen to see the chicken in samfaina recipe I posted on a while back? Maybe in the winter. It’s a basque ratatouille with chicken. Very hefty, but it was so good. Very similar ingredients. Of course they’re claiming they “invented” ratatouille!

  2. Kim Bultman September 9, 2019 at 6:31 AM - Reply

    Mimi, I was just debating what to serve as a side dish with chicken tonight when your post popped up. Side dish tonight — main dish for me for the next two days! Wonderful backstory about its history and your trip to NYC. Memories are made of such as this, xo.

    • chef mimi September 9, 2019 at 6:47 AM - Reply

      Perfect. It really is a good recipe. My husband doesn’t like eggplants, but since they kept their shape he was able to pick them out! And it was good with the chicken.

  3. Frank Fariello September 9, 2019 at 6:35 AM - Reply

    What a briliant idea for Avoiding the typical problem of the veggies breaking apart from all the stirring that’s needed when this is cooked on the stovetop. Plus the oven baking intensifies the flavors, I imagine. Going to give this method a try!

    • chef mimi September 9, 2019 at 6:36 AM - Reply

      Great! The flavors were fabulous, and individual. And it’s so pretty. I know you’ll love it.

  4. okiewinegirl2015 September 9, 2019 at 9:35 AM - Reply

    Ratatouille is our all time favorite so thank you for another recipe of it to try! Plus I adore the movie version too so it’s a win-win idea for a Friday night! Happy cooking Mimi!

    • chef mimi September 9, 2019 at 9:56 AM - Reply

      Thanks! I just recently watched part of the movie. It was honestly odd to see all of those rats in the kitchen 🤣🤣

  5. Gerlinde@ Sunnycovechef September 9, 2019 at 9:55 AM - Reply

    I ate at Cafe Boulud and loved it. It was a memorable meal. I often bake my vegetable in the oven, especially eggplants , onions, and peppers. I have to try this method of sautéing them first.

    • chef mimi September 9, 2019 at 9:57 AM - Reply

      Oh, I’m so glad you had the same experience! It is a small restaurant, but not noisy, which I like. I really liked how this ratatouille came out. You’ll like it, too.

  6. the Painted Apron September 9, 2019 at 10:42 AM - Reply

    I love ratatouille and haven’t had it in ages, this recipe looks wonderful!
    Jenna

    • chef mimi September 9, 2019 at 11:58 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Jenna. It’s really good and pretty!

  7. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats September 9, 2019 at 10:53 AM - Reply

    Lovely dish!
    I’ve been to Buolod’s restaurants a few times and it was mostly enjoyable, though was quite disappointed at his DBGB on Bowery street, which is by now closed.

    • chef mimi September 9, 2019 at 11:58 AM - Reply

      Oh, well that is probably good!

      • Ronit Penso Tasty Eats September 9, 2019 at 1:04 PM

        It feels better to know I wasn’t the only unhappy one. Sometimes I feel I’m too fussy and critical of restaurants. On the other hand, with the prices they charge, especially in NY I think we have a right to ask for the best! :)

      • chef mimi September 9, 2019 at 1:49 PM

        I’ve actually created a monster with my husband. He’ll start complaining before we even sit down. But that’s at our local restaurants. They’re terrible.

      • Ronit Penso Tasty Eats September 9, 2019 at 3:45 PM

        lol I can relate to it! :)

  8. Laura September 9, 2019 at 1:40 PM - Reply

    I love ratatouille! Thanks for this recipe – I love that the veggies keep their beauty and individual flavors. It’s like a bowlful of treasure!

    • chef mimi September 9, 2019 at 1:46 PM - Reply

      What a beautiful description! Thank you!

  9. anitaliandish September 9, 2019 at 2:05 PM - Reply

    Looks so delicious! I will be trying this. Thanks, Mimi.

    • chef mimi September 9, 2019 at 2:07 PM - Reply

      You are so welcome!

  10. Rhiannon September 9, 2019 at 2:09 PM - Reply

    I first learned about Ratatouille in the animationfilm with the rat, where the boy cooked a meal for a critic one.
    He cooked Ratataouille, remembering the critic one to his childhood.

    I think you recipe could do something like this – remembering the own childhood.

    • chef mimi September 9, 2019 at 2:10 PM - Reply

      I just recently saw that movie! It was so strange to see rats in a restaurant kitchen! Thank you for your comment.

  11. Katherine | Love In My Oven September 9, 2019 at 4:15 PM - Reply

    I have NEVER made ratatouille. That clearly needs to change!! This looks so incredibly comforting.

    • chef mimi September 9, 2019 at 6:06 PM - Reply

      It is very good, and very classic. Plus you can pick out the vegetables you don’t like, like my husband 🙄

  12. sippitysup September 9, 2019 at 7:27 PM - Reply

    I sat at the bar of a French Bistro just the other night and ordered ratatouille as a pre-dinner nibble. As I nibbled on crunchy eggplant I wondered how a French restaurant could screw up ratatouille! Of course the restaurant is called La Poubelle, so maybe I should have known! GREG

    • chef mimi September 9, 2019 at 7:29 PM - Reply

      Are you serious?!!! That’s the name of the restaurant? In Los Angeles? Wow. Well, you probably won’t be going back there. Or, was it good? Maybe it was a cutting edge thing?😳!!!

  13. popsiclesociety September 9, 2019 at 9:32 PM - Reply

    I love ratatouille! Really wonderful how the veggies kept their shape! So colorful and delicious dish :)

    • chef mimi September 11, 2019 at 10:33 AM - Reply

      Thank you. I will definitely be using this recipe again!

  14. Tandy | Lavender and Lime September 9, 2019 at 10:57 PM - Reply

    I like the idea of cooking this dish in the oven. Something worth trying for sure.

    • chef mimi September 10, 2019 at 6:57 AM - Reply

      It definitely worked well, even with all of the stirring, the rat stayed beautiful!

  15. Ann Coleman September 10, 2019 at 4:27 PM - Reply

    That looks delicious, with the added benefit of being healthy!

    • chef mimi September 11, 2019 at 10:33 AM - Reply

      That’s always a benefit, isn’t it?!!

  16. Jeff the Chef September 10, 2019 at 9:48 PM - Reply

    I see that the restaurant is still open. I go to New York frequently. I will definitely check it out next time I go. In the meantime I’ll drool over your Ratatouille.

    • David @ Spiced September 11, 2019 at 7:05 AM - Reply

      Next time you come to New York, you need to hop the train north, Jeff!!

      • chef mimi September 11, 2019 at 9:24 AM

        Oh, there are so many restaurants. My daughter lives there now, and it’s so fun to go to new restaurants every time. This last visit we mostly dined in Brooklyn. amazing restaurants there.

    • chef mimi September 11, 2019 at 9:28 AM - Reply

      I haven’t checked on it recently, but I’d certainly hope it’s maintained its high rating.

  17. 2pots2cook September 11, 2019 at 3:52 AM - Reply

    Absolutely love ratatouille, both of us and will stick to homemade one :-). Thank you dear Mimi and enjoy your day :-)

    • chef mimi September 11, 2019 at 9:28 AM - Reply

      Thank you! You’ll love this recipe!

  18. David @ Spiced September 11, 2019 at 7:05 AM - Reply

    I saw this one on Instagram this morning while I was drinking my morning coffee, and I immediately knew what I wanted for dinner! This looks amazing, Mimi. Such a classic recipe…but then again, there is a reason why it’s a classic!

    • chef mimi September 11, 2019 at 9:27 AM - Reply

      Exactly! And it’s so nice to pull vegetables out of the garden this time of year and make something so wonderful!

  19. David Scott Allen September 11, 2019 at 8:23 AM - Reply

    I haven’t made ratatouille since I made the version used in the Disney movie! It is such a great, healthy main or side dish! How wonderful that you went to Chef Boulud’s restaurant in New York. Would have loved to have been there with you!

    • chef mimi September 11, 2019 at 9:21 AM - Reply

      I wish we could meet at a restaurant somewhere! That would be so fun!

  20. StefanGourmet September 11, 2019 at 9:03 AM - Reply

    We love Ratatouille and you are right — it is difficult to cook it just right. The amount of eggplant is small compared to the other vegetables.

    • chef mimi September 11, 2019 at 9:20 AM - Reply

      That’s because my husband hates it. I don’t think he’s ever tried it, but he hates it. I grow Japanese eggplant, and I just used two, and the recipe called for one regular size eggplant.

  21. kitchenriffs September 11, 2019 at 10:37 AM - Reply

    Neat recipe. I’ve made ratatouille in the oven — just toss everything on a couple of sheet pans (I divide the veggies by how long they take to cook). Basically roasted ratatouille. Your recipe looks great — thanks.

    • chef mimi September 11, 2019 at 10:59 AM - Reply

      Oh yeah, I bet that is really good. Probably better than sautéing first!

  22. cookingontheweekends September 11, 2019 at 10:56 AM - Reply

    Luck you to have gone to Café Boulud — twice! I would love to eat there. This is such a great classic dish and yours looks like it was executed with perfection. :-) ~Valentina

    • chef mimi September 11, 2019 at 11:03 AM - Reply

      I just looked online at open table and the restaurant is still almost fully a 5 star rating. So I’d still recommend it, even though I went long ago. When restaurants are chef owned they tend to be nothing but perfect, I have found, even when they have multiple restaurants, which is mind-boggling. His fancier restaurant Daniel is just about 2nd to Le Bernardin, which almost comes in first place. I need to go there next!!!

  23. Ron September 11, 2019 at 11:26 AM - Reply

    Mimi, the oven roasted method for ratatouille is our favorite, hands down. We love the stuff because when the garden is fruitful you can make huge batches and freeze it for those cold winter days. But, it’s best fresh out of the oven with a glass of wine (red for me please) and some crusty bread…

    • chef mimi September 11, 2019 at 11:35 AM - Reply

      What a great idea, to freeze the ratatouille. I’m sure it holds up well. My husband actually ate some of it, although he was more interested in the roasted chicken.. but he won’t eat eggplant, which is probably my favorite part.

  24. jenniferguerrero1 September 11, 2019 at 1:58 PM - Reply

    This looks divine! I’m so jealous of your garden. We have terrific luck with peach and fig trees, but the vegetable garden is never abundant like yours!

    • chef mimi September 11, 2019 at 2:03 PM - Reply

      Oh dear, well I’d be really happy with fruit trees! Basic veggies, but they really shine in a dish like this!

  25. Kelly | Foodtasia September 12, 2019 at 9:57 AM - Reply

    Mimi, what a gorgeous ratatouille! I love how the vegetables are all sautéed then baked. This will be my go-to ratatouille recipe!

    • chef mimi September 12, 2019 at 2:16 PM - Reply

      Good! It’s worth making just because it’s so pretty. Aren’t the rest of them just mushy?!!

  26. Karen (Back Road Journal) September 14, 2019 at 9:54 AM - Reply

    It definitely has a nice fresher look when baked…I can’t wait to try the chef’s version.

    • chef mimi September 14, 2019 at 9:58 AM - Reply

      Definitely. Much prettier than mush!

Leave a Reply. I love 'em!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.