Recipe for ratatouille soup
From A Beautiful Bowl of Soup, you chose this ratatouille soup for one reason -- for the best reason -- seasonality. It's hard to resist a soup that springs right from the garden. This vegetarian (or vegan) soup omits the potatoes that are traditional in ratatouille, a French vegetable stew, and makes the best use of tomatoes and fresh herbs. The recipe serves six people, but you'll want to double it, and freeze some for later in the winter when the only option for vegetables is a poor second to what we can buy at the farmers' market or farm stand right now. I used fresh basil and oregano from my herb garden; you can certainly used dried oregano instead (half the quantity of fresh). And I couldn't stop myself from adding a Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind, which adds depth and rich flavor to any vegetable soup; omit it if you're making a vegan soup.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 eggplant (approx. 12 oz), peeled and cut into 2x1/4-inch strips
1 zucchini, cut into 2x1/4-inch strips
1 cup chopped green beans (cut into 2-inch lengths)
1/2 green (or red) bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 2x1/4-inch strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp minced fresh oregano
1 tsp sugar, or to taste
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper, or more to taste
1 small Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (omit for vegan soup)
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tomatoes, diced
1 Tbsp minced fresh basil
Kosher salt, to taste
Shredded Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish (optional)
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Stir in the eggplant, zucchini, green beans, bell pepper and garlic. Sprinkle the vinegar over the vegetables. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes to "sweat" and soften the vegetables.
Stir in the tomato sauce, oregano, sugar, pepper and cheese rind (if using). Add half of the vegetable stock. Increase heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Add the remaining stock, chopped tomatoes and fresh basil, and season to taste with kosher salt (if you've used a cheese rind, you'll need less salt, so taste before you season).
Serve hot, topped with shredded cheese and/or more fresh basil.