The classic vegetable mélange known as Ratatouille is at its best when cooked for a relatively short period of time. The object is to preserve the flavor and character of each individual ingredient so that the final dish offers several different taste sensations.
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium eggplants, peeled or unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
6 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
12 black oil-cured olives
12 green olives (unstuffed)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. Add the onion and garlic and toss to coat. Stir over medium heat until the onion is tender. Add the eggplant and continue to stir over medium heat until the eggplant begins to soften.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix in the green bell peppers, zucchini, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle on the wine. Stir in the tomatoes, black olives, green olives, and parsley. Bring the mixture to a gentle bubble. Reduce the heat and cover the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover the pan and remove the bay leaf. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the eggplant is tender when pierced.