Fresh Ratatouille

(1 vote)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh sweet basil leaves
1 large sprig fresh oregano
3 cloves garlic
3 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, scalded with boiling water and skins removed, (retain any juice)
salt and pepper to taste
2 medium-sized eggplants or 3 japanese
2 good-sized zucchini, or 2 good-sized yellow crook neck squash
2 garden grown green peppers, chunked
1 large red sweet onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Scald the tomatoes with boiling water and remove the skins and stems. Be sure to retain any juice as you go along. Chop them coarsely and set aside in a bowl. Chop up the peppers and a red onion coarsely, into about 1-inch pieces. Basil , oregano and garlic can be processed (or chopped) together into a very fine dice.

Heat the olive oil in a soup kettle. Add the basil mixture and allow to sauté 2 minutes or until very fragrant. Add in the onion and peppers and cook the mixture over medium -high heat for approximately 5 minutes, stir. Pour in the tomatoes, turn up the heat, and bring the mixture to a steady simmer. Stir frequently. After about 5 minutes turn the heat to "low"--just so that the sauce is barely simmering.

Do not peel the eggplant, just chop it up into approximately 2 inch chunks. Squash should also be chunky. Add the vegetables to the simmering tomato mixture. Allow to simmer, stirring every 5 -10 minutes, for 30-40 minutes or until liquid is reduced by 1/3 and the stew is thick. Be sure to keep the heat low and to stir regularly. Allow to cool a bit and taste. Add a bit of red wine vinegar (not too much). Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.

Chill thoroughly, preferably overnight, if you intend to eat this dish cold. It also freezes successfully 3 months in a refrigerator freezer, or up to a year in a deep freezer.

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