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Eggplant Ratatouille

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound eggplant
  • 3-5 zucchini, each about 5 inches long
  • 2 medium bell peppers (red or green), or 5 small elongated light green Italian peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 large ripe red tomatoes
  • 6-8 tablespoons high quality olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil

Directions:

Cut the eggplant into 1-inch chunks and place in a colander. Salt them, top with a weight and leave to drain, for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the zucchini into 1 inch chunks, salt them and leave them to drain on paper toweling. Seed, de-rib and cut up the pepper. Cut the onions into eighths. Peel, seed and roughly chop the tomatoes. Rinse the eggplant and zucchini in cold water, squeeze gently and pat dry with paper towels. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and lightly brown the eggplant and zucchini chunks. Transfer to a 4-quart casserole. Lightly brown the peppers in the same oil. Add to the casserole. Add the onions, tomatoes, bay leaf and remaining oil to casserole. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer, covered 30 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the garlic and thyme. Cook 20 minutes more, or until thick and well-blended. Serve hot or cold. Sprinkle with fresh basil.

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