3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried thyme leaf
2 Tbsp dried oregano
12 small new potatoes, diced
2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, diced
1 large Japanese eggplant, ends trimmed, diced
2 medium tomatoes, cored and diced
6 large white mushrooms, ends trimmed, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1-2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar (optional)
6-10 large basil leaves, roughly torn
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, thyme and oregano, and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the potatoes, zucchini and eggplant; stir everything together, and cover the pot. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, until the eggplant and zucchini have begun to soften (this is called "sweating" the vegetables). Add the tomatoes and mushrooms, the wine and tomato paste. Stir everything together.
Cover the pot, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are soft enough to be smashed against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Break up some of the potatoes, and leave some in chunks. Stir the stew to incorporate the smashed potatoes. Add basil, sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the cheese.
Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.