By Lori Ross for Cooking Challenge Four - No Refrigerated Ingredients from Ellen Dawson, Haverford, PA.
This is the most versatile dish I make. It can be used as a stew on its own, as a side to lamb or beef, a pasta sauce, a salad (cold and dressed with a little oil and red wine vinegar), a base for poached eggs or a warm filling for pita sandwiches with a little mozzarella or Parmesan cheese mixed in. It is also very flexible, tasting equally good made in the oven, microwave or stove top. In the oven, the vegetables melt into each other while on the stove top and microwave; the vegetables maintain their shape and distinctive colors.
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small eggplant, unpeeled and cubed
1 medium zucchini, unpeeled and cubed
1 green or red pepper, cubed
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
1 large or two small tomatoes, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh Basil or oregano to taste (optional)
Oven: Mix garlic, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, onion and jalapeno in covered oven proof pot. Add garlic, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Slice tomatoes over the top of casserole, and then pour olive oil over the top. Cover and bake at 300 degrees for 2-3 hours, stirring every hour. Add basil or oregano during the last half hour.
Microwave: Cube eggplant, pepper, zucchini and onion and mixed with olive oil, salt and pepper, minced garlic cloves and minced jalapeno pepper. Place in Microwave proof shallow pan or bowl and slice tomatoes over the top. Cover and microwave for 5 minutes at 50% power, stir. Microwave at 30% power for 20 minutes, then stir and take off cover to microwave for 5 minutes more. Finally, microwave at full power for 1-2 minutes and add fresh herbs. Let the ratatouille rest for 10-15 minutes, and then serve.
Stove top: Heat covered soup pot and add oil. Sauté garlic, jalapeno and onion for 5 minutes. Add eggplant, zucchini and pepper. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on low for 1 hour. Uncover and simmer another 30 minutes on low. Let the ratatouille rest for 10 minutes covered and serve.