This is better made the day before eating to allow all the flavours to deepen and combine. Photos courtesy of the P5s at West Barns Primary School, who enjoyed making this as part of their Plenty Project week.
2 aubergines, chopped into 2cm pieces
4 courgettes, chopped into 2cm pieces
4 peppers, sliced
2 tins plum tomatoes
4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 onions, sliced
1 tablespoon red wine or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 bunch fresh basil, separating leaves and stalks
Dried mixed herbs or fresh thyme & oregano – leaves stripped if using fresh herbs
In a large saucepan with a lid, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. When it’s quite hot tip in the aubergine. Cook, stirring regularly so it doesn’t stick, until it starts to soften and brown. Remove it onto a plate while you cook the rest of the vegetables.
Add a little more oil if the pan is dry, and turn the heat right down. Tip in the onion, put the lid on and sweat it for about five minutes until it softens. Add the peppers and courgette, turn the heat up a little and fry, stirring regularly, for about five minutes until they start to brown. Don’t over-cook them now or they’ll get mushy later.
Add in the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Tip in the chopped and tinned tomatoes, the vinegar and sugar, the aubergine, a good crack of pepper and the dried herbs / fresh thyme & oregano leaves. Chop the basil stalks into 1cm sections and add them now too.
Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft but not mushy. Tear or chop up the basil leaves. Turn off the heat, stir through the basil leaves and serve with bread, wholemeal pasta or brown rice. It’s even better the next day.