This ratatouille is not pretty. It’s nothing like the one in the Pixar movie. It is basically an obscenely large collection of vegetables that get chopped, generously doused in olive oil, and then roasted until they’re soft and caramelized and melded together into a deeply flavorful dish. The simplest process coaxes so much flavor out of such basic ingredients. And then I get to watch my kids gobble down a couple days worth of vegetable servings in one sitting - and with delight! It’s pretty magical.
Feel free to increase/decrease ingredients as you prefer. You can't really mess it up. Just be sure to season it well with salt and pepper and it will be delicious.
1 large eggplant, or 2 small
8 oz mushrooms (or more)
1 large zucchini (or 2 small)
1 large summer squash (or 3 small)
3 bell peppers (I like to do one of each color)
2 large onions
8 cloves garlic
5-6 large tomatoes or 2 cans diced tomatoes
salt and pepper
basil, parsley, thyme (dried or fresh)
Preheat oven to 450.
Chop all the vegetables into 3/4 - 1 inch pieces (chop the garlic into a coarse mince). Combine in a large roasting dish.
Douse generously with olive oil - about 1/3 cup - and season well with salt and pepper. If you're using dried herbs, sprinkle a generous pinch (an all-fingers kind of pinch) of any or all of them (if using fresh herbs, stir in a chopped tablespoon of any or all of them at the end). Toss well to combine and coat vegetables evenly.
Roast for 25 minutes, then stir vegetables around. Roast another 20 - 30 minutes until darkened and soft. Be sure to scrape up the caramelization on the bottom and edges of the pan and stir in. Add salt and pepper if necessary and stir in fresh herbs, if using.
Serve with grated parmesan. We like to eat this on a creamy polenta with crusty bread, but it would also be good on rice or couscous or quinoa, or topped with a egg on a baked potato, or on pasta with a side of sausage or chicken.