1 medium or 6 baby eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more to taste
3 large shallots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 to 6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 bunch of basil, tied in a bouquet with kitchen twine
6 basil leaves, chopped or torn
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 sweet bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 medium summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 ripe medium heirloom tomatoes , cut into 1/2-inch dice
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Toss the eggplant with a teaspoon of salt, set in a colander, and let drain for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, make your basil bouquet (tie it tight!) and chop the remainder of your vegetables.
In a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Pat the eggplant dry, and add it to the pot, stirring frequently until the eggplant is golden brown. If the eggplant absorbs all of the oil and starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once golden, remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the diced shallots. Cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Add in the garlic, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and the basil bouquet. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the peppers for 2 minutes, then the squash for 2 minutes, and then the tomatoes for 2 minutes. Let this simmer for 10 minutes all together, stirring occasionally. At this point it will seem very liquid from the tomatoes. Don't worry - it will cook down!
After the 10 minutes, add the eggplant back in, and simmer for a final 15 minutes until all of the vegetables are soft. Remove the basil bouquet, stir in your chopped basil, and adjust your salt and pepper seasoning!
Plate, and serve!
This is a recipe to take advantage of right now while the summer produce is perfection. It was especially perfect for me last night as I had a ton of produce to eat before I head out of town for the long weekend for my sisters wedding (!!!!!!). It looks labor intensive, but once the chopping is done, it is just a lot of simmering. It smells incredible, and is a perfect cozy dish moving into fall. There is something about the basil bouquet and the shallot that makes this version of a ratatouille a little bit more fresh and modern. I loved it, you will too.
Recipe adapted from Alice Waters' Ratatouille in The Art of Simple Food.
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