Leave it to Alice Waters, Queen of All Things Natural and Wonderfully Simple, to devise a method of preparing ratatouille that reduces the notorious complexity of this classic recipe by slashing the number of steps. I use the same progression for my stew-y version, which celebrates the juiciness of warm-weather veggies, along with softened goji berries and toothsome quinoa. This stew gets better the longer it sits, so if you can muster a little patience, wait an hour or two before serving.
• 1/2 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• Sea salt and ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for garnish
• 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1 small yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 3 tablespoons dried goji berries
• 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus more for garnish
• 3 cups miso broth (homemade or store-bought)
• 1 cup cooked quinoa
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1. Place eggplant in a bowl and toss with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Set aside for 30 minutes. Remove eggplant from bowl and pat dry to remove excess moisture.
2. In a heavy-bottomed pot, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over moderate heat. Add eggplant and cook, stirring often, for 7 minutes to soften. Transfer eggplant to a bowl.
3. In the same pot over moderate heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion, season with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and a little ground black pepper, and cook until onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
4. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in bell pepper and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add zucchini and yellow squash and cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Add tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes to break them down, stirring often. Toss in goji berries and basil, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
5. Add broth, cooked quinoa and reserved eggplant. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook it on low heat for 10 minutes.
6. Remove pot from heat, mix in red wine vinegar, and adjust seasoning with salt if desired. Serve stew, warm or cold, drizzled lightly with olive oil and sprinkled with additional chopped fresh basil.
For freezer friendly tips visit: Freeze Your Foods for Fall