This is ratatouille made casserole-style, with a healthy topping of peppery cheese. We think it's a great improvement on the original, if we do say so ourselves.
1 small baguette, cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions, sliced
6 cloves garlic (5 chopped, 1 whole)
2 pounds eggplant, trimmed and cubed
1 pound zucchini or yellow squash, trimmed and cubed
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
11⁄4 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Olive oil for brushing
2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until pale golden. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onions; cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped garlic; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, rosemary sprig, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook about 25 minutes more or until vegetables are fork-tender.
While the mixture cooks, chop the remaining garlic clove; set aside. Uncover the pan and increase heat to medium-high. Cook about 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Remove the rosemary sprig. Stir in the remaining garlic, the basil, lemon juice, and chopped rosemary.
Preheat the broiler. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a 2- to 3-quart casserole dish. Arrange the toasted baguette slices over top. Brush the bread with additional olive oil. Top evenly with pepper Jack cheese. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until the bread is golden and the cheese has melted.
from Recipes from the Road
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