There are infinite versions and almost as many names for this dish. All Italian regions, especially in the south of Italy, have their own traditional variations on this dish with different regional names. The one I chose to publish is my own home-made quick version. You could definitely find more elaborate version that include many more ingredients and roasting the vegetables separately. They are wonderful and taste great, but I wanted to share with you the version I would make on a day to day basis. It isn't very quick to make, because the vegetables need some time to cook down to the proper consistency, plus it tastes better lukewarm so allow it some time to rest and cool off. I like making it in the early afternoon and then having it for dinner for example. It can be a wonderful side dish for example to a nice grilled Italian sausage, but it is also great eaten along with a nice fresh mozzarella sliced and seasoned with salt, olive oil and oregano. Do not forget to have some nice fresh french or Italian bread to accompany this dish and make lots of "scarpetta" the Italian word for dipping your bread in the sauce and cleaning the plate with it!
1 medium eggplant
1 yellow or red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 can of diced tomatoes with juice ( I like the fire roasted ones from Muir Glen)
pitted olives (optional)
fresh basil or dried oregano
red pepper flakes (optional)
Dice the eggplant ( without peeling it!) and then put it directly in a skillet on medium heat. Stir often to avoid sticking. The eggplant will brown and reduce in size, so don't worry if in the beginning the skillet seems to be overflowing.
While the eggplant is cooking, slice the onion and peel the garlic cloves.
Cut the zucchini in quarters lengthwise then slice it.
Open the pepper, remove the stem and all the seeds and white parts then dice it.
In a large skillet cook the onion and the garlic in generous olive oil until the onion is translucent and soft.
Add the zucchini and pepper to the skillet with the onion and garlic and cook stirring every once in a while to avoid sticking.
When the eggplant is reduced in size and browned turn the heat off under it.
Wait until the zucchini and pepper are almost done ( taste it for doneness, they have to be soft and you shouldn't feel the skin under your teeth) probably at least 20 minutes.
Add the eggplant to the zucchini and pepper and stir.
Add the tomatoes with the juices to the vegetable stir and turn the heat to medium high.
Add the red pepper flakes if desired (don't add them if you want to share this dish with kids), salt to taste and the dried oregano flakes.
Let the tomatoes boil down for about another 10 minutes then turn off the stove and let the vegetables cool off.
Once lukewarm add the pitted olives if desired.