Recipe: Favorite Ratatouille
This is loosely based on the recipe from Cooks Illustrated. I love their recipes, and they are generally no-fail but can be a little work-y. I've simplified their brilliance to fit my busy days.
Serves 6 - 8
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for serving
2 large onions cut into 1-inch pieces
8 large garlic cloves peeled and smashed
Salt and pepper
1 ½ tsp herbes de Provence
¼ - ½ tsp red pepper flakes (use the larger amount if you like it a little spicier)
1 bay leaf
1 ½ pounds eggplant peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (especially good with thin Asian eggplants)
28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
2 small zucchini halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 green bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 T chopped fresh basil
3 T minced fresh parsley
3 T cilantro
2 T sherry vinegar
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat ⅓ cup oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and starting to soften, about 10 minutes. Add herbes de Provence, pepper flakes, and bay leaf and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Stir in eggplant and tomatoes. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and stir to combine. Transfer pot to oven and cook, uncovered, until vegetables are very tender and spotty brown, 40 to 45 minutes.
2. Remove pot from oven and, using potato masher or heavy wooden spoon, smash and stir eggplant mixture until broken down to sauce-like consistency. Stir in zucchini, bell peppers, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and return to oven. Cook, uncovered, until zucchini and bell peppers are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Remove pot from oven, cover, and let stand until zucchini is translucent and easily pierced with tip of paring knife, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Stir in 1 tablespoon basil, parsley, cilantro and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you feel like being fancy, feel free to transfer the veggies to a large platter; otherwise, drizzle the finished dish with a bit of oil, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon basil, and serve.