Let cool until comfortable to handle, then peel and finely chop. Place the eggplant in a colander and set aside to let the liquid drain out.
Preheat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic and saute until vegetables are tender.
Stir in drained eggplant, parsley, sugar, tomato paste, lemon juice, salt, basil, pepper, and crushed tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Serve warm or refrigerate and serve chilled. Great as a dip or spread with raw vegetables, crackers or toasted bread rounds or triangles.
Yield: 20 (1/4 cup) servings, about 5 cups