Ratatouille, the fragrant vegetable stew, has long become a symbol of French cuisine, particularly of the Provence region. This dish, simple in its making yet rich in flavors and aromas, embodies the essence of the Mediterranean diet and the philosophy of cooking: extracting maximum taste from straightforward, quality ingredients. Ratatouille is not only a delicious and nutritious vegetable stew but also a manifestation of the flavors and colors of summer in the South of France. This recipe will guide you through making a classic ratatouille that will be a highlight of any table. Ingredients: 1 medium eggplant 2 small zucchinis 1 red bell pepper 1 yellow bell pepper 2 medium tomatoes 1 large onion 3 cloves of garlic 1 sprig of fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried) 1/4 cup of olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste A few fresh basil leaves for garnish Preparation: Prepare the vegetables: Slice the eggplants and zucchinis into approximately 0.5 cm thick rounds. Cut the bell peppers into strips, the tomatoes into rounds, and finely chop the onion and garlic. Sauté the vegetables: Heat a pan over medium heat with olive oil. Sauté the eggplants and zucchinis until they are golden brown on both sides. Remove them onto a paper towel to drain excess oil. Sauté onion and garlic: In the same pan, sauté the onion until translucent, add the garlic, and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Assemble the ratatouille: In a deep pan or Dutch oven, layer the vegetables, alternating them, and adding salt, pepper, and thyme between the layers. Start with the onion and garlic, followed by a layer of eggplants, zucchinis, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Repeat until all vegetables are used. Simmer the ratatouille: Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for about 30-40 minutes. The vegetables should be tender but still hold their shape. Serve: Serve the ratatouille warm or at room temperature, garnished with fresh basil.