Ratatouille

My brother-in-law is an amazing vegan and cook who first introduced me to completely animal-free fare.  He recently posted a photo of his ratatouille on FB and it had me salivating for some too.  This is my take on his recipe and a possible answer to the overflowing harvest bounty – particularly if you double the batch.

Yield: 6-1/2 cups

What you need:

  • 1/2 an orange or red pepper, diced
  • 2 cups chopped onion, 3/4″ dice
  • 3 cups chopped zucchini, 1″ dice
  • 2 cups chopped winter squash, 1″ dice
  • 3-1/2 cups chopped eggplant, 3/4″ dice
  • several sprigs fresh oregano
  • 3 cups chopped tomato (peeled if preferred)
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced (if you aren’t so keen on the garlic, half that)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups red basil, measured and then sliced into a chiffonade (roll the leaves together tightly and then slice as thinly as you can)
  • freshly ground black pepper

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 385 F.
  2. Put the onion, pepper, zucchini, winter squash and eggplant in a 9″x13″ glass or ceramic baking dish.  Toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the sprigs of oregano and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
  3. Roast in the oven uncovered, for an hour, until the veggies are soft and reduced and beginning to brown.  Toss at the 30 minute mark and reduce the heat to 375 F then too.
  4. While the vegetables are roasting, set a large pot or dutch oven over medium flame and add the remaining olive oil.  When hot, add the garlic and stir and fry until golden.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and add the thyme.  Simmer until reduced by half, a minute or two.
  6. Add the tomatoes and cook at a low boil or strong simmer until the tomatoes are broken down and the sauce somewhat reduced, 10-15 minutes.
  7. Add the salt and mix well.
  8. When the vegetables are ready, add them to the tomato-garlic sauce and mix well.
  9. Add the basil, stir again, and serve alongside a crusty loaf of bread for lunch, supper, or even breakfast.

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