Caponata Siciliana

Caponata is the Italian version of ratatouille, with lots of basil and pine nuts.  The original recipe calls for 2 large eggplants, but since some of my family members are eggplant averse, I used more zucchini instead. I have since made this without any eggplant at all and it was fine.

If you like a bit of spice, I'd recommend adding a couple of tablespoons of red or green curry paste or a squirt of Sriracha. You could also use a jar of pesto in place of the basil.  This makes a nice side dish tossed with a few cannellini beans.

Caponata Siciliana
Adapted from The Paleo Slow Cooker by Arsy Vartanian
Makes about 8 cups

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large globe eggplant, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 celery stalks, sliced
4 tomatoes, chopped into 1/2" pieces
4 medium zucchini
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 Tblsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup green or black olives, halved or sliced
2 Tblsp capers
1/4 cup pine nuts

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet and fry the eggplant until browned on all sides.  Transfer to a slow cooker.  Add more oil, if needed, and saute the onion, garlic and celery until the onions are translucent, transfer to the slow cooker.

Add the tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, vinegar, tomato paste, salt and pepper to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in the parsley, basil, olives, capers and pine nuts.  Serve warm or cold.