Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

A few weeks ago I picked up a new cookbook to help with trying to go more vegetarian. I really like Plenty because it is a vegetarian cookbook that isn’t written by a vegetarian and it acknowledges that there are different versions of vegetarian. Some are more vegan – no animal products at all – some are no eggs or no dairy or fish only and others are anything other than meat. I am clearly not totally vegetarian but I like to cook meatless as much as I can.

I started my exploration of this cookbook with a polenta with eggplant. I didn’t use the polenta recipe from the book because A) it required six ears of corn and B) I really love my version of the Alton Brown recipe. My version is pretty simple:
1 shallot, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup corn meal
1 tablespoon butter
1 oz grated cheese (Pecorino or Romano generally)
Oil for the shallot

Cook the shallot over medium heat about five minutes until soft. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cornmeal until it is all incorporated. Cover and place in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes. Remove and add the butter – whisk to incorporate – then the cheese. Stir well to mix the cheese in.

That’s it. Fairly simple and always delicious.

For the eggplant sauce, I did this fairly close to the actual recipe.
1 medium eggplant chopped into pieces about 3/4 inch
Oil for the pan – about 1/2 cup
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup water
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon chopped oregano

I peeled the eggplant because I don’t like the skin – I find it bitter. So heat the oil in a large pan then cook the eggplant about 15 minutes until it is browned and cooked through. Drain all the oil – I used paper towels over a large bowl and let it all drain for a minute or two. Return the eggplant to the pan and add the tomato paste. Cook 2 minutes then add the wine and cook 1 minute more. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat for five to ten minutes.

This one was a real winner. The polenta was smooth and creamy and very comfort food feeling. The eggplant was simple, but flavorful. They went really well together and made a great meal. There were no leftovers from this even though it is suppose to serve four. I probably used a smaller eggplant than anticipated and with the different polenta recipe we only had enough for two. But it works and I will definitely be making this again.

I have a potato/tomato pie on plan for today … We shall see how that works.

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