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"Welcome to my Italian kitchen!" says Rach. "Today, I thought I would show you all a meal I make with ingredients straight from my garden. It's budget friendly—and who doesn't need that now?—and you make it all in one skillet!" It's a baked skillet ratatouille with eggplant and zucchini topped with hot pepper-spiked pesto. Don't be put off by the number of ingredients and steps. The dish comes together quickly and you can even make the components in advance. Serve with charred crusty bread.
For more from our season 17 premiere, check out Rach's Italy house tour, garden tour and her favorite spots in Tuscany.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
For the base sauce, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat with the EVOO. Add the onions, peppers, salt and pepper and soften a few minutes. Add herbs, garlic and tomatoes, stir and cook until tomatoes collapse, about 15 minutes.
For the vegetables, salt the eggplant and drain on towel a few minutes. Season zucchini with salt and pepper.
Arrange the eggplant, zucchini, sliced raw tomatoes and basil in concentric circles over the sauce. In another skillet, heat the garlic and oil over low heat to infuse the flavor of the garlic into the oil. Brush the vegetables with the oil, reserving half. Bake 30 to 40 minutes.
For the pesto, place the basil in a food processor with the remaining half of the garlic oil, toasted nuts, hot peppers and grated Parm. Pulse-process to form pesto, then pulse in salt and lemon juice to your liking.
Top the ratatouille with a swirl of pesto.