Midsummer’s glorious array at local farmers’ markets might prompt anyone to become a vegetarian, at least during the warm months. In this gratin, juicy tomatoes, plump eggplant, and fresh ricotta are layered with herbs and Parmesan. It is the kind of dish that improves after baking, so if you want to make it ahead, you can be assured it will only get better. But reheat it gently. And when you’re at the market, choose tomatoes of various colors, if you like. You can’t go wrong.
Some of the gratin, with sauteed cherry tomatoes, turns into a sauce for linguine the next day. Add plenty more basil and you have another dish that can be served hot or at room temperature. Forgiving dishes mean you’re not spending mild evenings tied to the stove.