Problem is, they're expensive, and I'm cheap. So I managed to use a big Rubbermaid tub, a small rotary saw, and a plastic colander to cobble up some homemade ones. We've had lush and abundant herbs every summer since (despite our benign neglect). This year in particular our basil has gone nuts. As I type, it is the 5th of December and we STILL have fresh basil by the handful. Unreal.
2 zucchini (about 1/2 a pound), cut in 1-inch pieces
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
small yellow potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbs. fresh rosemary
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt (divided)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil (divided)
1 can whole tomatoes, chopped and juice reserved
1 Tbs. chopped garlic
1/2 an onion, chopped
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 cans chick peas (drained and rinsed)
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
Heat oven to 450. In a bowl, toss zucchini, eggplant, potatoes, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, 1 Tbs. olive oil, 2 Tbs. water, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Spread on baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray, place in the oven, and roast about 25 minutes. I found I *just* had time to chop the veg while the oven preheated. (You can roast the veg before moving on to the next part.)
In a large pot, saute onions and garlic in remaining olive oil; cook until onions are soft. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, three more minutes. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and remaining salt. Add roasted vegetables. Stir in vinegar. If the veg has cooled, make sure you keep the ratatouille on medium low until the whole stew is heated through.
Serve with a hearty bread, and you have one delicious winter meal.