Ratatouille (version XII)

1 yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup olive or canola oil
2 medium sized eggplants, unpared and diced
1 medium sized red bell pepper, sliced 1/2 strips
1 medium sized yellow bell pepper, sliced 1/2 strips
2 zucchini squash, diced
4 large roma tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon herbs d'provence
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste, optional

1. Sauté onions briefly in olive oil using heavy pan. Add eggplant and garlic, reducing heat after a few minutes.

2. Add sliced bell peppers and cover, braising for ten minutes.

3. Add squash and tomatoes, herbs and seasonings and continue cooking for fifteen minutes, covered.

4. Adjust seasonings before serving warm or hot.

OPTION A: Normally served as a vegetable side dish, Ratatouille can easily become the main event. The "meaty" qualities of eggplant combined with tomatoes, peppers and squash make this vegetable stew complete when accompanied by polenta or brown rice, or served as a sauce over penne pasta.

OPTION B: Slice sufficient eggplants (one per two servings) in half lengthwise. Remove some of the "meat," leaving 1/2-inch sides, and roast the eggplant half an hour in 350 degree oven. Stuff with ratatouille and garnish with fresh basil.

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