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This version is fast and easy, using fresh veggies, and is full of vitamins and antioxidants. 

Perfect Ratatouille

1 medium eggplant
salt (kosher salt is best)
2 medium zucchini (or 3 small ones)
1 medium onion
1 medium bell pepper
2 ripe medium tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, minced
small jalapeno or other hot pepper, or to taste, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil
or to taste
1 teaspoon
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup dry white cooking wine (Note #1)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
3 tablespoons tomato paste

freshly cooked rice, grated parmesan

Cut eggplant into quarters, then slice thin.   Place in a bowl and sprinkle liberally with salt.  Mix to distribute, then place in a colander for at least 15 or 20 minutes (or even an hour) to drain the dark, bitter fluid.   

Cut onion in half and slice thin.  Cut bell pepper into squares.   Place olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  (Note #2)   Sauté onion and bell pepper until onion softens.  

Cut zucchini in half and slice about 1/2" thick.  Add to pan and continue to sauté until vegetables start to brown a little.

Rinse eggplant thoroughly.  Squeeze to remove water, or spin dry in a salad spinner.   Add to pan with the minced garlic and hot pepper.  Continue to sauté for two or three minutes while you cut the tomatoes into small pieces.  Add tomatoes to the pan; sauté until tomatoes are heated through and mixture is boiling.   Add wine, salt, sugar and spices.   Cover and turn heat very low for five to ten minutes or until the zucchini is tender.  Do not overcook.

Add tomato paste and mix well.   Serve with rice, sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Was any left over?   Stir it into the rice and add some shredded low-fat or fat free cheddar.  Instant Spanish Rice!  Heat in the microwave the next day, and top with grated parmesan for a delicious side dish.

Note #1:  You may substitute chicken broth for the wine, or tomato juice or even water.

Note #2:   A non-stick stir-fry pan or wok works beautifully!  

The Sneaky Kitchen
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