I first heard the word "ratatouille" while watching Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet, on PBS; he taught me how to pronounce the word. He used about 40 steps and at least three pans making the stuff. I had to cube the eggplant, mix it up with a bunch of salt, then put it in a colander in the sink to let it drain for, I don't know, an hour maybe. I bought his book, and this was the only recipe I recall making from it. But I made it over and over, then washed all those pans and the colander.
Somewhere along the line I got rid of Jeff's book and lost the recipe.
Several years went by with no ratatouille in our house; when I finally decided to make it again, lacking my original recipe, I checked my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and found a much simpler recipe. It only uses one pan, and there's no colander or waiting for the eggplant to drain; it tastes every bit as good as the other stuff that was so much trouble to make.
I always double this recipe when I make ratatouille because Cliff and I are crazy about it.
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups cubed, peeled eggplant
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup chopped, peeled tomato (2 medium) or one 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine, chicken broth, or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil or oregano
1. In a large skillet cook onion and garlic over medium heat till tender. Stir in all other ingredients. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Uncover and cook about 5 minutes more or until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.
My cooking times are usually longer than given on this recipe, and I'm pretty generous with onion and garlic in most dishes I cook. I leave the veggies in fairly large chunks.
Cliff and I even like it cold.
and here it is, almost done. How could anyone not love such a dish? Oh, and except for the salt and pepper, it all came out of my garden this morning, including the basil.