What to do with a potpourri of unused assorted vegetables…a couple of zucchini a day or two away from becoming limp, an eggplant on the counter developing more than a few soft spots, some grape tomatoes (neighbors to the eggplant) drying out, and a bulk pack of once-beautiful bell peppers I couldn’t resist buying at Costco? Ina Garten to the rescue! I’ve had my eye on her recipe for Roasted Ratatouille with Polenta ever since I got a copy of her new book Cooking for Jeffrey, and this was my perfect opportunity!
This was a very easy meal to put together and I’ve never made polenta before. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I would like it since I’ve never ordered it at a restaurant, but it was delicious! If you’ve never had it before, I would compare it to a smoother risotto, sort of like grits. It took me about an hour and a half from start to finish, but that’s only because I like to take my time chopping vegetables (I find it very therapeutic!)
One caveat…my husband didn’t love this dish and said the consistency of the polenta was too sauce-like for him to consider a satisfying meal. I really enjoyed this though, and found it very satisfying. Hope you do too!
Ratatouille (Serves 4, adapted from Ina Garten, Cooking for Jeffrey)
2 medium zucchini, 1-in-diced
1 medium eggplant, 1-in-diced
1 red bell pepper, 1-in-diced
1 small onion, medium sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
7 grape tomatoes, halved
fresh basil, julienned
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Combine zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, onion, garlic and dried oregano. Toss with olive oil (I used 3-4 tbsp) and season salt and pepper). Pour onto half sheet pan. Transfer to oven. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing every 10-15 minutes.
- Lower oven heat to 425. Add tomatoes in with rest of vegetables. Roast another 10 minutes.
- Toss with julienned basil.
Creamy Polenta (Serves 3, adapted from Ina Garten, Cooking for Jeffrey)
3 cups chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
salt and pepper
3/4 cup parmesan, grated
3 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tbsp unsalted butter, diced
- Bring chicken stock and garlic to a boil. Bring down to simmer.
- Combine salt (I used 1/2 tsp and found it a bit salty, perhaps reduced to 1/4 tsp and adjust from there) and pepper, and cornmeal. Slowly add the cornmeal mixture into the simmering stock, whisking quickly to avoid lumps from forming.
- Switch to a wooden spoon and stir the mixture over low heat for 5-10 minutes. Stop and take off heat when mixture has thickened.
- Off the heat, add parmesan, creme fraiche and butter.