2 firm, medium eggplant, peel half the skin off then dice into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 rounded tablespoon Herbes de Provence, a palmful
2 large onions, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, sliced
2 fresh bay leaves
1 cup vegetable stock
3 medium zucchini, about 2 pounds, seeded and diced into bite-sized pieces
2 red bell or mild frying peppers, seeded and chopped
1 32-ounce can plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
A few leaves of basil, torn
1/4 cup, a fat handful, chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and drain the eggplant on a kitchen towel for about 20 minutes; pat dry.
Heat oil, 4 turns of the pan, in large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add dried herbs and stir then add onions, garlic, bay leaves and season with a little salt and some black pepper. Cook, partially covered, 10 minutes to soften. Add vegetable stock, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and their juices, basil and parsley. Stir to combine, cover and transfer pot to oven to roast 30 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes or so. Uncover pot, stir again and roast 30 minutes more. Turn off oven and let stand 20 minutes more. Serve or cool and store. Remove bay leaves before serving.
Serve with toasted crusty bread and/or with poached or fried eggs for easy elegant meal or spoon on top of French bread, top with mozzarella or Gruyère and bake for French bread pizzas. Or, freeze and use later on in Ratatouille-Stuffed Roasted Garlic Potatoes, Ratatouille & Ricotta Stuffed Peppers or Ratatouille Frittata.