Looking for a way to use up all those amazing summer veggies? This is it

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These days, ratatouille might be most famous in this country as the dish that turned a cartoon rat into a famous chef. But the Southern French vegetable stew is a classic. It's a fantastic way to use summer’s bountiful harvest —including tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. Making it in a slow cooker is genius because it means you don’t have to heat up your kitchen in the height of the summer swelter. Of course, you can make this scrumptious stew any time of year so long as you can get good quality produce and/or canned tomatoes.
Ratatouille is versatile, too! Serve it hot as a side dish for roasted or grilled meat or poultry, or as a base for fish. Top it with a poached or fried egg, and serve it with toasted baguette slices for dipping. You could also toss it with cooked pasta and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Ratatouille will keep in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to three months.
Cooktop Cove
Slow cooker ratatouille
10 minutes
4 hours
4 hours and 10 minutes
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling
2 onions, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large bell peppers (about 1 pound), any color or a combination, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes or one 14 ½-ounce can diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste and garlic until well-combined. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
Add the eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Cover the slow cooker, and cook on high for 4 hours on high or on low for 8 hours. To thicken the sauce a bit, set the lid of the slow cooker ajar for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Just before serving, stir in the oregano or thyme.
Serve hot.
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