This dish, made famous by a children’s movie is a favorite in our house not just because it is so delicious, but also because it is versatile.  At the end of the summer, when tomatoes and zucchini seem to be coming out of the garden faster than we can eat them, I make huge pots of ratatouille and freeze it.  Come winter, not only do we eat it as a side dish, but I also add vegetable broth, chick peas and small pasta pieces to it and it becomes a wonderful minestrone adaptation.

20-30 fresh tomatoes, quartered and skinned

1 large onion, diced

1 Tbs olive oil

5 cloves fresh garlic, minced

10 small zucchini, chopped

1 lb mushrooms or eggplant, chopped

a handful of fresh basil roughly chopped

salt and pepper

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until fragrant.  Next add tomatoes and cook on low until they form a thick liquid.  This may take 15 to 20 minutes.  If using eggplant, toss with a pinch of sea salt and let sit while the tomatoes cook down.  When the tomatoes begin to form a bubbly sauce, add zucchini and eggplant (or mushrooms).  Cook the vegetables at medium heat for ten minutes.  Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.  Top with basil and stir.  Serve as a side dish in a bowl with freshly grated parmesan cheese on top, a drizzle of olive oil or freshly made croutons.

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