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Ratatouille

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Unlike some other versions of this popular vegetable medley, my ratatouille is a smooth, slowly cooked mixture of vegetables, with a fresh herb and tomato flavor and the texture of a thick sauce. It is delicious hot from the oven, and after a day or two or three, it tastes even better. Dice all the vegetables small so that they will cook in about the same time and melt together at the end. For a chunky ratatouille, cut the vegetables into large dice. Large chunks of zucchini will give the dish a pronounced zucchini flavor, rather than a dominant tomato flavor.

NotesDon’t salt the eggplant before cooking; salting will just make it wetter. After its long, slow cooking with tomatoes and other vegetables, it won’t taste bitter.

A parchment cover set right on top of the vegetable keeps them moist by preventing evaporation.

Make-ahead notes

• The diced vegetables can be refrigerated up to 1 day.

• The finished ratatouille can he refrigerated up to 3 days; reheat in a 275°F, oven or over low heat, or microwave.

Makes6 cups, or 6 to 8 servings

Cooking Methodbaking, sauteeing

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course, side dish, vegetable

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Mealdinner

Taste and Textureherby, juicy, savory, sweet

Type of Dishcasserole, vegetable

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and bell pepper and same until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute. Drain off the oil and transfer the vegetables to a medium casserole. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Sauté the eggplant, squash, and zucchini until softened, 7 to 8 minutes, drain, and add to the onion mixture.

  2. Preheat the oven to 275°F.

  3. Place the onion-eggplant mixture over medium heat and add the tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, and herbs. Heat through, mixing well, and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cover with a circle of buttered parchment paper find cook in the oven 1 hour; uncover and cook another 30 minutes, until thick and melted. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

  4. Variation:

  5. Substitute extra zucchini for yellow squash, yellow or orange bell peppers for red peppers (you can use green peppers, but the others are milder).

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