Monday, June 13, 2011

Meatless Monday - Tomato Eggplant Ragu over Polenta with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

It's been a few weeks since I've posted a Meatless Monday dish. So hopefully I can make up for it with this simple yet elegant  dish.

Last summer I put up some Tomato Eggplant Relish. While it is good on toasted slices of baguette, it is outstanding warmed up over pasta.  For tonight I'm going to switch it up and instead of pasta, I'll make a creamy cheese polenta, and top it off with a drizzle of pureed roasted red peppers! If you don't have any relish, a saute of summer vegetables and a bit of tomato sauce would work just fine as well. Zucchini, eggplant, peppers all would be great. Feel free to mix it up!

Tomato Eggplant Relish
1 cup Tomato Sauce - from the garden last year

For the Polenta:
1 1/2 cups polenta or yellow cornmeal
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
water as needed
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For Roasted Red Pepper Coulis:
1.5 cups roasted red peppers - If using canned - rinse the off and pat  dry

In a large pot add milk and cream bring the milk and cream mixture up to a simmer and gradually pour in the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly.

Once the milk is completely absorbed, lower the heat and set a timer for 20 minutes.

Continue cooking, whisking often, until the timer goes off, add water if the mixture is too thick (it should be similar creamy mashed potatoes). I ended up adding almost 1.5 cups of water during the cooking time.

When the timer goes off the polenta should be thick and smooth. Finish with butter, grated cheese, salt and pepper.

While the polenta was cooking, I added the Eggplant and tomato sauce to a pan, and heated gently.

In the midst of all this I pureed the roasted red pepper using the immersion blender - a regular blender would work just fine too.

To serve, add a portion of polenta, top with the eggplant tomato mixture, and drizzle on the red pepper puree.

The polenta is stick-to-your ribs filling, rich and cheesey, and serve as a nice counter point to the acid tomatoes. This dinner can be on the table in under 40 minutes which makes it a delicious weeknight meal,

Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!

The Gastronomic Gardener
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  1. Getting the polenta to the right consistency without forming lumps is quite tricky!


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