2small zucchini8-10 ounces total, sliced into 1/2" circles
1red or orange bell pepperseeded and sliced into large bite-size pieces
1small red onionsliced (about 1/2 cup)
3tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil
2teaspoonschopped fresh thyme leaves plus 3 or 4 sprigs
1cupcanned tomato puree or strained tomatoes
2clovesgarliccrushed or grated
1/2teaspooncrushed red pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
4 plum tomatoes or Campari tomatoessliced
3ouncessoft goat cheeseomit for vegan
2tablespoonsprepared basil pesto
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Peel the eggplant, if desired, or leave some of the skin on in strips. Trim off the stem and sliced into quarters lengthwise, then slice into 1-inch thick half moons.
Put the eggplant in a large bowl with the zucchini, bell pepper and onion. Drizzle with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and the chopped thyme and toss together.
Pour the tomato puree into a 4-5 quart casserole or baking dish. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic, red and black pepper and spread over the bottom of the dish.
Arrange the vegetables in the dish in one layer. Top with the sliced tomatoes and thyme sprigs. Bake 30-35 minutes. The juices should be bubbling and the eggplant tender when pierced with a the tip of a knife. Remove the thyme stems (you can crumble the leaves over the dish first).
Sprinkle the goat cheese over the ratatouille and drizzle with the pesto. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Ratatouille keeps well for up to 5 days in the refrigerator - and tastes even better leftover!
Freezing Directions: Prepare and bake without the cheese and pesto. Freeze in a well wrapped container for up to 1 month. Defrost and heat at 350F about 20 minutes. Add the cheese and pesto before serving.