NOTE: If you want to make a smaller version, you can use Japanese eggplant, but will need about 3-4 of them, and smaller zucchini & yellow squash (and cut the bell pepper slices into about quarters). You'll probably have 4-5 rows of smaller veggies, rather than 3 rows if they're larger slices.
BAKED Layered RATATOUILLE
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste…………………….… 1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced or chopped garlic………….........1 TB extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup water or wine (red or white)………....….…1/2 tsp crushed/cracked red pepper
1 to 2 tsp. Kosher salt…………………………… about 1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 small eggplant (not Japanese), trimmed and thinly sliced *see NOTES below*
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large yellow Crookneck squash (as straight as possible), trimmed & thinly sliced
1 EACH red and green bell peppers, cored and thinly sliced
3 TB extra-virgin olive oil…………………..……...1 tsp. fresh oregano leaves
4-5 fresh basil leaves, slivered……………..……...1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
(1) It’s important to have zucchini, yellow squash and bell peppers that are about the same size in diameter. Look for a small, thinner eggplant (but not a Japanese eggplant, which are long and too skinny). B/c small zucchini & yellow squash are more tender, you may want to use 2 of each & put 2 smaller slices next to each other instead of 1 larger slice.
(2) My husband doesn’t like eggplant if the peel is on it (it has a stronger flavor), so I peel mine. You can do this with or without the peel on the eggplant.
Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9x13" pan with olive oil non-stick spray. In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, onion, garlic, 1 TB olive oil, salt, both peppers and water/wine until thorough combined. Spread on the bottom of the pan.
Arrange alternating slices of eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper, starting at the outer edge of the dish and working concentrically towards the center. (Overlap the slices so the colors show.) Drizzle with 3 TB olive oil and season with a little more Kosher salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with chopped/slivered oregano and basil, and lay the sprig of rosemary on top. Cover tightly with foil (sprayed with non-stick spray on underneath side, so the ratatouille doesn't stick to it).
Bake until vegetables are just about done (about 40 minutes). Take off foil and remove rosemary sprig. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake (uncovered) for another 5 minutes (until cheese is melted). 4-8 as main dish, or 8-12 as side dish.
TRADITIONAL RATATOUILLE (using leftover cut-up vegetables)
I used all of my leftover cut-up vegetables, plus some chopped onion. Toss them into a medium sauce pan with 1 15-oz. can (plus liquid) of Italian seasoned diced tomatoes. Add in more garlic, salt, pepper and as many herbs as you want. Stir in about 1/4 to 1/2 cup wine or water (depends how many veggies you have). Turn the pot to medium-high and bring to a slow boil; lower the heat to a slow-simmer, cover and let it simmer (stirring occasionally) until the veggies are all soft and the liquid is absorbed. (Could take several hours ~ depends how many veggies and how much liquid is in there.) ** Eat hot, room temperature or refrigerate and eat it cold. This will keep for at least a few days (maybe a week) in the refrigerator.