Ratatouille Gratin

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced
1/2 cup packed, fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh thyme
1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted, drained
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 small summer squash, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds
2 small zucchini, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds
2 Japanese eggplants, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds
1 1/2 cups comte cheese or Rogue Creamery TouVelle

Heat oven to 350 F.

In a large, deep skillet over medium, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic and bell pepper. Saute for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender.

Add the basil, thyme, tomatoes, vinegar, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spread one-third of tomato mixture over bottom of a deep, 10-inch pie pan or 2-quart, casserole dish. Using one-third of each vegetable, arrange 1 layer each of the squash, zucchini and eggplant rounds over tomato mixture, alternating vegetables and overlapping slightly. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese over that. Repeat layering in that order twice more, ending with cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife. Increase heat to broil and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes to lightly brown top.

Makes 8 servings.


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