Makes 8 sandwiches (4 servings)

I once multiplied this recipe to serve 100 at a summer garden party. With the food buffet-style, my guests assembled their own pita sandwiches stuffed with Ratatouille, shredded lettuce, and cheese.

If you're serving only a few, go ahead and make the entire recipe (which makes 6 cups) because leftover ratatouille is great to have on hand to serve later as a filling for omelets or crepes, as a topping for baked potatoes, or as an accompaniment for grilled fish or chicken.

For the filling

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup onion in 3/8-inch strips

1 eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 2-inch by 3/8-inch strips

1 zucchini, cut into 2-inch by 3/8-inch strips (about 2 cups)

2 cups green beans in 2-inch pieces (about 8 ounces)

½ green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch by 3/8-inch strips

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

One 15-ounce can tomato sauce, preferably chunky

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil or ½ teaspoon dried basil

2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste

2 large tomatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

For the bread

Four 7-inch pita bread rounds, each cut to form 2 half-rounds

To complete the recipe

Finely shredded lettuce and shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese for garnishing

To make the ratatouille, heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the eggplant, zucchini, green beans, bell pepper, and garlic. Drizzle the vinegar over the vegetables. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. (Reduce the heat if the vegetables start to brown.)

Reduce the heat to low. Add the tomato sauce, sugar, dried basil and oregano (if using), pepper, and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the green beans are tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the tomatoes and fresh basil and oregano (if using). Cover and let stand for about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.