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I know it's hot out and the last thing you want to do is fire up the stove top, but the season for ratatouille's ingredients is NOW, so crank up that air conditioning and get thee to a farmers market! Ratatouille is a hot vegetarian (vegan, too, if you omit the Parmesan garnish) stew that showcases zucchini, eggplant, red peppers and tomatoes in all their seasonal glory. The flavors meld together beautifully, and actually taste better the next day, like many tomato based dishes.
4 large tomatoes
8 garlic cloves, minced
20 basil leaves, torn into bits
1 cup olive oil
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
2 tsp salt
2 onions, chopped
3 red bell peppers, chopped
4 zucchini, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
Parmesan cheese, as a garnish
Chop the tomatoes and add to the stove top with the garlic, 1/3 cup olive oil and basil. Simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes. In the meantime, salt the chopped eggplant and leave sitting in a colander in the sink, to release and drain excess water for 20 minutes. Then saute the onions and peppers in 1/3 cup olive oil with a pinch of salt. When softened, remove from the pan and saute the zucchini and eggplant (which you've dried off with paper towels) in the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil with another pinch of salt till soft.
Add all of your sauteed veggies to the tomato sauce along with the pepper and allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Allow to cool to room temp before serving with Parmesan cheese. It IS summer, after all.
If you have leftovers, which you probably will, try making a ratatouille and mozzarella grilled cheese. You will not regret it!
Do you ever make stew in the summer?