Ratatouille with Creamy Parmesan Polenta

 Lately I can't get my fill of vegetables. I think my body is in need of restoration from all the work I did on my thesis, and it's making me direct my attention to healthy foods. This week at the market, there were gorgeous, glossy eggplant, and it instantly made me crave ratatouille, a classic southern French vegetable stew. It's hearty but not as heavy as meat-based stews. Though I can't guarantee my version in 100% authentic, it's nonetheless delicious and full of the vegetables traditionally used in ratatouille. Leftovers of the ratatouille were really delicious tossed with pasta and topped with Parmesan cheese!

I also made some polenta to serve with this because I have had polenta on the brain ever since making the Venetian Lasagna that was so hearty and delicious. I compromised on the creamy factor by using mostly broth and a little whole milk. I have started using a small splash of whole milk in my coffee lately. I dislike how watery skim and 1% milk are, but I don't like using the low-fat creamers that have high fructose corn syrup in them. I thought about using coconut milk like Jillian Michaels does, but I haven't taken the plunge. But I digress...here is my Ratatouille with Creamy Parmesan Polenta recipe:

Ratatouille with Creamy Parmesan Polenta
Printable Recipe

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 1-lb eggplant, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium yellow summer squash, diced
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
1 13.5-oz can petite diced tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 cup whole milk
3-3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (use the whole cup of milk, then supplement the rest with broth according to your package directions)
1 cup instant polenta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Add the oil to a soup pot or large sauce pan; drop the garlic in the pool of oil. Bring the heat to medium-high and cook until the garlic begins to sizzle and becomes fragrant. Add the onion, eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the rosemary, basil, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, and vinegar and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium, partially cover the pot with a lid and simmer 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft.
3. In the last few minutes of cooking the ratatouille, combine the milk and broth in a saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Add the polenta, slowly, stirring into the spot where you are sprinkling the polenta in so that it doesn't clump up. Cook the polenta according to the time on the package and stir in the Parmesan once it's done cooking.
4. Serve the polenta as a base for the ratatouille.

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