Recipe: Kim O'Donnel's ratatouille 

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Adapted by Kim O'Donnel from Ready When You Are: A Compendium of Comforting One-Dish Meals by Martha Rose Shulman

1 1/2 lbs. eggplant (1 large globe eggplant or 3 thinner Asian eggplants)

Salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

3 red or yellow bell peppers, julienned

4-6 garlic cloves, minced

1 large yellow or green zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices

3/4 pound tomatoes (3-4 medium tomatoes)

1 bay leaf

1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (1/2-1 teaspoon dried)

1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)

Chopped fresh basil and/or parsley to taste, for garnish

Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain about 30 minutes (not necessary, but it does help to release water). Heat oven to 500 F.

Place drained eggplant in a large, ovenproof casserole and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place in oven and roast 15-20 minutes, until eggplant is lightly browned and fragrant.

Remove from oven and set aside. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in peppers and a generous pinch of salt; cook until peppers are softened, 5-10 minutes.

Stir in half the garlic and cook for another minute, then season with salt and transfer to casserole with eggplant.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in skillet and add zucchini, more salt and pepper to taste, and cook until zucchini is tender but still bright, 5-10 minutes. Stir in remaining garlic, then transfer to casserole.

Add tomatoes to casserole, plus herbs and more salt and pepper to taste. Toss everything together and cook mixture over medium-low heat. Cover and cook for at least 15 minutes, stirring often.

Mixture should be fragrant, veggies tender but still bright. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Remove bay leaf and herb sprigs, if necessary. Stir in basil and parsley just before using.

Makes 6 servings. Will keep in fridge for about 5 days.

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