Make this in the largest, heaviest pot, frying pan or flame-proof casserole dish that you own. Heat the first measure of olive oil in your pot of choice and add the unpeeled aubergine, sliced peppers, and courgette, all cut in 2cm (0.8in) chunky pieces.
Cook over a medium to high heat for 15 minutes, so that the vegetables brown lightly but do not steam in large amounts of juices. Keep a close eye on this.
Add the onions chopped into similar sized pieces, the garlic, and enough extra oil to stop the mixture catching or burning. Raise the heat slightly, and cook for a further 15 minutes. Just until the onions are transparent and lightly browned. Cook the vegetables in batches if you find this easier.
Stir in the canned or fresh tomatoes (and juice or Pasata if using), add the sugar, salt, and pesto, and bring to a gentle boil with the lid tilted.
Cook on a medium heat so the liquid bubbles and thickens, but the vegetables do not burn. We prefer the Ratatouille just at the stage where the liquid has thickened but the vegetables still remain firm. Simmer for around 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve in bowls.
Ratatouille served on Bulgur:
Our current favorite is Ratatouille served on Bulgur, other suggestions are – Crusty bread OR serve on pasta OR rice, topped with Parmesan OR ladle generous amounts of Ratatouille into a saucepan of cooked, drained, new potatoes, heat through, and serve with a dollop of sour cream.
Take a good handful of Bulgur per serving and soak in warm water. I prefer to do this for at least 30-60minutes. Rinse and put into a medium-sized pot with fresh lightly salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 8-10minutes. Drain and add a knob of butter, mix through, and serve.