Ask and ye shall receive. I'm thinking this may become a budgetary staple, maybe served up with a chicken breast (and yes, Meagan, I know I have previously harbored an illogical hatred of ratatouille, but I am somehow totally craving this.)

I want some of this immediately.

Dad's Authentic Ratatouille
Serves 2 for 4 meals

Ingredients (feel free to play with proportions as this is a more or less situation):

2 large eggplants, peeled and cubed into 1-inch cubes
6-8 zucchini, coined
3 bell peppers, roughly chopped (red are classic, but use what you have on hand)
5 cloves garlic, whole
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 yellow onions
1 bay leaf
3-4 sprigs thyme (fresh thyme is the key to making this Ratatouille taste right)
1 can whole tomatoes or 4 large tomatoes that are nice and ripe
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a large pot saute the onions in olive oil until brown, then add peppers and allow to soften. Stir in whole garlic cloves, tomatoes and bay leaf and turn heat down to a simmer and leave for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, sautee eggplant and zucchini (they tend to get mushy if you throw them in with everything else but that can be good too and is easier than dirtying a second pan) until browned and softened.

Add the zucchini and eggplant to the simmering pot along with the sprigs of thyme and some salt and pepper (to taste) and allow to simmer at least another 20 minutes. Simmer longer if you want the flavors to really get good, or just reheat it the next day and you'll have the same effect.

Fish out the bay leaf and the whole garlic cloves and serve piping hot with crusty fresh baked bread or basmati rice. Add the minced garlic to the top of each serving.

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