No-Stir Parmesan Polenta with Stir-Fried Ratatouille and Sausage

November 30, 2009
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

This dish isn't seasonal--all the ingredients are available year-around from any decent grocer--but it really comes to life with an armload of vegetables freshly picked from your garden or purchased from a farmers' market. I use ratatouille for all kinds of things because it makes for a wonderful side dish, pizza topping, bed for baked eggs or a main dish, such as this one that's full of Mediterranean color and goodness. —betteirene

What You'll Need
  • For the Polenta
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 1 cup coarse polenta or cornmeal, preferably Bob's Red Mill
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 4 cups chicken stock, heated, or boiling water
  • 1 ear fresh corn, kernels removed, or 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2-1 cups fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter or olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 cups additional chicken stock, water, milk, cream, or half-and-half
  • Kosher salt and fresh-ground coarse black pepper
  • For the Ragout
  • 4-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage links, sweet ot hot, cut into 1" chunks
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled and sliced into 1/2" strips
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and diced, sprinkled with salt and placed in a large strainer to drain
  • 1 medium zucchini, peeled and/or seeded if desired, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1" chunks
  • 1/2 pound white button or cremini or portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and quartered
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • Kosher salt and fresh-ground coarse black pepper
  • Shaved Parmesan, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  1. Use butter or olive oil to grease the ceramic insert of the slow cooker. Turn heat to "low" setting.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together polenta and 1 cup water until smooth and lump-free. Slowly add hot chicken stock or water, whisking constantly until smooth. Transfer contents to slow cooker, cover and let cook for 6-8 hours.
  3. One hour before serving, stir in corn kernels. Just prior to serving, stir in as much or as little Parmesan as desired, the butter or olive oil, and as much chicken stock as needed to reach the consistency desired. Taste; add salt, if necessary, and pepper.
  4. In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over high heat until shimmering. Sear sausage chunks on all sides. The sausage does not need to be cooked through. Transfer sausage to a Dutch oven; cover and place over low heat.
  5. Turn heat underneath skillet to medium-low. Add garlic and onions and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened. Scrape contents on top of sausage in Dutch oven; cover.
  6. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to skillet. Stir in roasted pepper and heat through. Transfer pepper strips to Dutch oven; replace cover.
  7. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to skillet. Stir in diced eggplant and cook over medium heat until soft. Stir in zucchini and cook until eggplant is very soft and zucchini is heated through and is barely soft. Transfer to Dutch oven and replace cover.
  8. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to skillet and turn heat to high. Add mushrooms and saute, stirring frequently, until golden. Transfer to Dutch oven and cover.
  9. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to skillet. Adjust heat to medium-high, stir in tomatoes and sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes soften and begin to break down. Transfer to the Dutch oven. Remove skillet from heat.
  10. Sprinkle ratatouille with oregano, basil and thyme; stir gently. Let simmer for 10 minutes; taste, and add salt and pepper if needed.
  11. Divide polenta among 4-6 pasta bowls or rimmed plates. Top with ratatouille. Garnish with Parmesan shavings and parsley and serve immediately.

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