11 September 2006

Ingredients (Serves 8-10)
150ml extra virgin olive oil (needn't be expensive)
500g Spanish onions, peeled and chopped
1 bulb new-season garlic, peeled and the cloves sliced
5 basil stalks and their leaves
500g courgettes, chopped
500g aubergine, chopped
500g mixed peppers, chopped
500g Marmande or San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
Black pepper

Method Warm 100ml oil in a large 30-40cm frying pan. Add the onions and let them fry gently, but not so much that they colour, until they are transparent. Add the garlic and some salt. Stir in the basil stalks without the leaves, the courgettes, aubergine, peppers and tomatoes. Turn up the heat so the vegetables start to fry.

Cook for about 20 minutes until the vegetables have softened, but retain a suggestion of crunchiness (this is a stew - they shouldn't be raw).

Stir in the basil leaves off the heat. Season with extra salt, if necessary, and freshly ground black pepper. Before serving, pour over the extra olive.

Note: this dish reheats well and tastes as good cold as hot.

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