Ratatouille is a bright and chunky summer vegetable stew, rich with olive oil and fragrant with garlic and herbs.
Servings: 8 (Makes about 7 cups)
Prep Time:30 Minutes
Cook Time:45 Minutes
Total Time:1 Hour 15 Minutes
1large (1.25 lb) eggplant, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
6 tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2medium zucchini (about 1 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
5large cloves garlic, chopped
5large vine-ripened tomatoes (1.75 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes, with their juices
1 tablespoontomato paste
2 teaspoonsfresh chopped thyme, plus more for serving
1/4 teaspooncrushed red pepper flakes (optional)
3 tablespoonschopped fresh basil
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan (no need to clean it). Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and transfer to a plate; set aside.
Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 3 minutes more. Do not brown. Add the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, thyme, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are broken down into a sauce, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cooked eggplant to the pan; bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. Add the zucchini and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until just warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh basil and thyme, drizzle with a little olive oil if desired, and serve warm or chilled. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freezer-Friendly Instructions: Let the dish cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. (Keep in mind that the zucchini won't stay crisp after being frozen.) This is delicious served cold, or reheated in the microwave.