Foolproof Microwave Ratatouille

  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (from about 3 sprigs)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small aubergine, peeled in alternating stripes, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 small courgette, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 small yellow squash, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (about 8 ounces)

Toss the onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a couple grinds of pepper in a microwave-safe 9-inch pie dish. Cover with a piece of wax paper. Microwave on high (at 100 percent power) until the onions are soft and translucent, 7 minutes in an 1,100-watt oven or 10 minutes in a 700-watt oven. (When removing the wax paper, be careful to avoid the hot steam.) If the onions are still a little raw, microwave again, covered, in 30-second increments.

While the onions cook, toss the aubergine, courgette and yellow squash slices with 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few turns of black pepper in a large bowl. Add the plum tomato slices, and gently toss.

Alternating vegetables, shingle slices in a circular pattern over the cooked onions in the pie dish. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Cover with wax paper. Microwave on high (at 100 percent power) until the vegetables are soft, 9 minutes in an 1,100-watt oven or 14 minutes in a 700-watt oven. If there is any resistance when you pierce the vegetables with a paring knife, microwave again, covered, in 30-second increments. Microwave, uncovered, on high (at 100 percent power) for 3 minutes in an 1,100-watt oven or 4 minutes in a 700-watt oven to evaporate excess moisture. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

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