As you know, Ted fancies himself an "urban farmer". What this really means is that we live in the city but there's enough room in our backyard for a modest vegetable garden. Ted being the enthusiastic guy he is, approaches his little plot of dirt with the same enthusiasm a farmer with a back forty would.
The really great thing about ratatouille, in addition to the fact that it tastes so good, is that it gives me an opportunity to use some of the basil Ted's growing as well as some of his early harvest tomatoes. We're not growing zucchini (thank God), but the garden provided a good start on the grocery shopping.
There's a fair amount of prep work when it comes to ratatouille, but after you have everything cut up pretty much all you'll have to do is stir. Just saute the veggies together until they're tender and a delicious ratatouille will be yours for the eating.
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
1 1/2 cups small diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups medium diced eggplant, skin on
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup diced green bell peppers
1 cup diced red bell peppers
1 cup diced zucchini squash
1 cup diced yellow squash
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Set a large 12-inch saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the eggplant and thyme to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is partially cooked, about 5 minutes. Add the green and red peppers, zucchini, and squash and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for a final 5 minutes. Stir well to blend and serve either hot or at room t