Bee Wilson’s ratatouille

by | Apr 18, 2024

We absolutely love Bee Wilson’s latest book ‘The Secret of Cooking: recipes for an easier life in the kitchen’. Every recipe we’ve made from it so far has been a hit, including this ratatouille. The perfect use for the first of the courgettes. 

From Bee “Properly, it should be called a tian, because unlike classic ratatouille, it is not stewed in a pan but constructed from very thinly sliced vegetables, baked in the oven. It looks much fancier this way but the flavours are the same: the gentle fragrance of sweet garlic mingling with oil and aubergine and tomato.”


Serves 4–6, (it’s a good idea to double it and make two)

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1 × 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 3 large courgettes (about 450g)
  • 2 large aubergines
  • 6 large vine tomatoes
  • A few sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped and chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C fan.

  2. In a medium saucepan, heat 20ml of olive oil over a medium heat and saute 2 of the garlic cloves for a few seconds before adding the tinned tomatoes and a big pinch of salt plus a smaller pinch of sugar. Cook, stirring often, until it reduces down a bit. Now, either mash it a bit with your wooden spoon or blitz it with a hand-held blender. Spread this sauce over the bottom of a large casserole dish or wide-lidded ovenproof pan.

  3. Cut the courgettes paper-thin using either a mandoline or a food processor. Now cut the aubergines in half lengthways and cut them too, using a mandoline or a food processor. Finally, slice the tomatoes as thin as you can using a sharp knife and a chopping board (I find they get mashed by the processor).

  4. Make stacks of the aubergine, courgette and tomato and arrange these in circles in the pan. When I first made this, I was completely obsessive and felt I had to alternate the vegetables one by one. This was time-consuming and it also didn’t work, because I always ended up with lots of aubergine and courgette left over (there are fewer tomato slices than aubergine and courgette). So what I now do is take a little stack of aubergine, a stack of courgette and then a single tomato slice and go round like that. It looks just as good.

  5. When the pan is full, sprinkle over the thyme and distribute the remaining garlic as evenly as you can, tucking it into the crevices. Sprinkle the whole thing well with flaky sea salt and pour over the remaining olive oil. Put it into the oven for 30 minutes, then put the lid on and return it to the oven for another 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are completely tender and a little bit shrunken.

RECIPE: By Bee Wilson, from her book ‘The Secret of Cooking: recipes for an easier life in the kitchen’

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