For a classic ratatouille, leave out the chicken broth and do not puree the soup. Add 1 cup tomato puree with the fresh tomatoes. This versatile Provençal stew can be served with sausages or pan-seared fish, or tossed with pasta.
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 eggplant, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, quartered
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 4 large tomatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2 to 3 cups chicken broth
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 Tbs. minced fresh basil
Cook the vegetables
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the eggplant, zucchini, onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened slightly, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the flavors have blended, about 15 minutes more.
Puree the vegetables
Add 1 cup of the broth to the vegetables. Using a blender or food processor, process the vegetables to a smooth puree.
Return the mixture to the pan and place over medium heat. Add enough additional broth to make a thick soup. Simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, garnish with the basil and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Soup, by Georgeanne Brennan (Oxmoor House, 2006).