Every summer there's that one week when all the vegetables for ratatouille come together at the same time. The boys aren't really aubergine/eggplant lovers, but will tolerate it in something flavourful. For the horridly hot weather we've been having, it would be hard to find a better meal than ratatouille with some crusty bread.
I admit to being conflicted between my desire for ratatouille and all the extra olives, celery and capers in caponata. They're such similar ingredients, but completely different dishes. I dealt with it by serving a dish of mixed olives with dinner.
In my experience, ratatouille isn't the place for shortcut recipes. Some dishes don't suffer from streamlining, but ratatouille does. I grew up eating a version of it that was mushy and watery because everything got chucked in a pot together and boiled within an inch of its life. Sure,I lived with an appallingly bad cook, but in her defense she was following a recipe (it was the 70s) even if it probably came from ,a weight-loss cookbook. So let's establish that you absolutely should not use vegetable/and or tomato juice to make ratatouille and you need to cook the ingredients in a certain order. Block off about an hour of time, more if you're slow chopping vegetables.
Over the years I've decided Julia Child's recipe is best for the cook that requires details often overlooked by people like Raymond Oliver. La Cuisine is a cookbook for after you've learned to cook just as Elizabeth David's bread book doesn't give good directions as she assumes the reader can bake. Julia Child knew her readers were going to cock it up-so the steps are very, very precise.
I love the way Mastering the Art of French Cooking is laid out. The ratatouille recipe calls for peeled, seeded and juiced tomatoes, and there's the instructions for the technique right at the end of the recipe. The recipes begin by telling you what equipment will be required, and ingredients are listed in order of use.
A reprint of the recipe may be found HERE. I do however encourage you to buy the book as it is a great help with foolproof recipes for crepes, aspics, etc. You also learn technique. I've had my copy since the early 90s, and I use it less as the years go on, but when I was learning to cook it was a great reference.
Finally, don't be intimidated by photos like the one at the link. No one arranged ratatouille like that before Instagram😊.