In the last throes of summer there are still aubergines about and plenty of beans to try this oil free version of ratatouille.
That’s right I did say oil free.
Many a pan has been overheated with great gulps of olive oil added to fry off the aubergine – ending in a rich and I won’t say not-delicious stew.
But we’re not going to do that to ourselves or our pans and I personally like this lighter version.
Like Nigella I do not salt my aubergine and can’t tell the difference – there the similarity ends!
Serve with a walnut Parmesan to take this simple dish to the next level and check out the many variations below.
1 large onion, finely sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
Handful of basil leaves
1 cup vegetable stock/water
2 sticks celery, cut 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large aubergine, quartered lengthways and sliced
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or 1 large can
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbl lemon juice
2 Tbl capers, optional
1 Tbl tomato paste, optional
1. Heat 1/2 cup of vegetable stock and steam saute onions, peppers, celery and garlic slowly, adding more stock as needed to prevent them sticking.
2. Add beans, bay leaves, tomatoes, basil, aubergine and rest of the stock, adding enough to just cover the vegetables. Cover and simmer. After about 20 minutes mix the stew adding a little more liquid if necessary.
3. Add seasonings, tomato paste, lemon and capers.
4. Top with walnut Parmesan.
Variations: Add white beans, capsicum, zucchinis, olives, mushrooms, red wine. Vary the herbs using marjoram, rosemary.