Ratatouille (version IV)
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt; let stand in a colander 1/2 to 1 hour to drain. Press out excess moisture. Rinse the eggplant with water and pat dry with paper towels.
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (about 3 medium)
1 large green bell pepper cut into 1/4-inch squares
1 large red or yellow bell pepper cut into 1/2-inch squares
3 medium zucchini, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons dried basil
2 garlic cloves crushed through a press
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 ounces canned tomato paste
5-3/4 ounces canned pitted ripe olives drained and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2. Place the eggplant in a 5- or 6-quart electric slow cooker. Add the onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, olive oil, basil, garlic, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well.
3. Cover and cook on the high heat setting about 3 hours, until the vegetables are tender but still hold their shape. Stir in the tomato paste, olives, and fresh basil. Serve hot, at room temperature, or chilled.
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