Ratatouille was originally a poor man's dish from Nice in the South of France. To make it properly, it needs a bit of preparation before hand. Whatever happens, don't just just chuck all the ingredients into a pan and cook them. If you do that you will end up with a mess. Instead you need to cook all the vegetables separately. Here's my method, and it works every time:
Cut up some aubergines (egg plant) into small bite-sized cubes, put them into a bowl, and sprinkle them with salt. Do the same thing with some courgettes (zucchini). The salt will draw out water from the vegetables.
Meanwhile, slice up some red onions, and cook them in olive oil. Towards the end of the cooking, stir in some crushed garlic. You need to cook the garlic later on, because it has a tendency to burn very quickly. When the onions and garlic are soft, put them to one side.
Next fry the drained aubergines in the same oil until they are browned and cooked properly. Put to one side. Fry the courgettes in the same way. Chop up some red and green peppers into cubes. Fry them in the olive oil. Now, combine all the cooked vegetables and cook them briefly on a gentle heat with a few springs of thyme.
Next you need to add tomatoes. In London, I find it incredibly difficult to get hold of decent red coloured , ripe tomatoes (most supermarkets seem to stock those rather pathetic under-ripe efforts), so for this dish, I tend to use a tin of quality plum tomatoes in juice. Stir those in.
Season with salt and pepper- although you may already have enough salt from the courgettes and the aubergines. I'll leave it to you to decide. The finished ratatouille will keep well in the 'fridge- some say, that this will even improve it. It goes amazingly well with lamb.
I finish off the dish with a squeeze of lemon juice, an extra dash of virgin olive oil, and some chopped parsley. One of my favourite recipes. Truly scrumptious.