Funny how that little Pixar film made this dish a winner with kids. Prepared traditionally, it takes four pans and tremendous patience. This easier version, though not exactly effort free, is quite yummy however. Add crusty bread and a few dollops of goat cheese and call it lunch. Or serve it as a side with simply prepared fish such as snapper or stripped bass. In an unusual move to complicate my life I now salt my eggplant before cooking it. Sigh. I think it yields a better result, but I wish it didn't, as it requires time and forethought, two things I have in short supply. Either way, this is a lovely French vegetable stew worthy of a warm sunny day, and a bright Sauvignon Blanc.
2 zucchini, diced into half inch pieces
1 yellow squash, diced into half inch pieces
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 green pepper diced
1 large onion, cut into large dice
6 cloves garlic, 4 cut into large pieces, 2 minced
1 pint of grape tomatoes (or more if you like)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1/4 cup olive oil (just enough to coat well)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Peel eggplant (optional), cut into 1/2 inch pieces, place in colander and sprinkle with kosher salt, toss to coat. Place colander in bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes, but not more than 1 hour. Rinse well, and squeeze dry. Heat oven to 350F. Mix eggplant and remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss. Place in large baking dish (you might need two) and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove foil, and continue cooking for an additional 30-45 minutes. This makes a lot, so feel free to reduce the amount of veggies, it is very flexible. Enjoy!