Autumn Ratatouille with Peppers, Butternut Squash, Eggplant, Tomatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Ratatouille is a simple, hearty country stew made of vegetables. The summer version is heavy on tomatoes, zucchini and eggplants, and this version applies the same basic technique to autumn vegetables. The idea is to brown the aromatics and your main ingredients at the beginning for lots of additional flavor.

TOTAL TIME:1 hour, 30 min.

SERVINGS:8

Ingredients

  • 4-6 Tbsp. olive oil, or as needed
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Anaheim or poblano chili, chopped or sliced
  • 1 large sweet red bell pepper, diced
  • 3-4 cups butternut squash (1 small butternut or half of a large one), 1-1½" diced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium yam or sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped, or 1 can (14.5 oz.) Kroger Diced Tomatoes
  • ½ Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro

Directions

  1. Warm half the oil in the bottom of a heavy Dutch oven or a deep, heavy skillet at medium-high heat. Cook the onions for 5 minutes until they’re softened and beginning to show hints of golden brown at the edges.

  2. Add the garlic and peppers. Stir frequently for another 5 minutes or so until the peppers have softened.

  3. Push the aromatics to the edges of the pot and add the squash and parsnip. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, adding a dribble of additional oil if needed, until the diced vegetables show a hint of brown.

  4. Stir the aromatics and squash together, then lift the vegetables out with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Add the eggplant and remaining oil to your pot, stirring for 4-5 minutes until the eggplant is soft and coated with the flavorful oil.

  5. Add the vegetables from the bowl back into your pot along with the sweet potato, tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Cover the pot and let the vegetables cook at a low simmer – not a full boil – for 30 minutes. Taste the mixture and add more salt or pepper if necessary. Heat your oven to 400°F halfway through this cooking time.

  6. Spoon the vegetables into a roasting pan or large glass or ceramic baking dish. They should make a shallow layer between 1½” and 2″ deep. Pour the broth from the pot over the vegetables and slide the dish carefully into your oven.

  7. Cook for another 30 minutes until the vegetables are very soft and most of the liquid has evaporated. Garnish with the parsley or cilantro and serve hot.

  8. TIPS:

    • Serve the ratatouille in modest portions as a side dish, or in a large bowl with crusty bread as a meal.
    • Leftovers should be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours, to maintain food safety.