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Vegetable Ragu with Creamy Mascarpone Polenta

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I consider myself to be a "Flexitarian". At least once a week, I try to prepare a meat-free dinner. Think of this meal as a "Quick, stir-fry ratatouille", if you will. This dish is hearty enough to satisfy a hearty hunger. I love creamy polenta, instead of mashed potatoes. This is a comforting meal, that has room for improvising-- for example, you can substitute the mascarpone for cream cheese. Or, you can save a few calories, and leave it out altogether! Please click on the source link to view step-by-step photos on how I made this.

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Rate this recipe 4.4/5 (9 Votes)

Ingredients

  • RAGU:
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini, sliced about 1/4- thick
  • 2 medium-sized yellow squash, sliced about 1/4- thick
  • 1 carrot, sliced about 1/4- thick
  • 1 red or yellow onion, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, low-salt preferred)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (low-salt preferrred)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato pasta
  • 1/4 cup red wine (optional, but my preference)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Olive oil (for sauteeing the vegetables)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Note: Use whatever vegetables you prefer, as this recipe is very versatile
  • POLENTA:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone (you can substitute cream cheese, or leave it out completely)
  • Chicken stock (optional)

Details

Servings 4
Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 45mins
Adapted from foodiewife-kitchen.blogspot.com

Preparation

Step 1

In a large skillet, add enough olive oil for an even coat. Heat on medium high-heat.

Add the vegetables to the hot skillet, and season with salt & pepper to taste.Saute the vegetables, on medium high heat, until soft (but just a little al dente) until golden brown. Because the squash cooks faster than the carrots and onion, I cooked them separately and a bit longer.

When the last batch of vegetables is at the end of sauteeing, add the minced garlic. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and remove the vegetables and set aside.

You want to see some browning on the bottom of the pan, after cooking all the vegetables. This is where the flavor comes from.

For flavor building, add a generous splash of red wine to the hot skillet. (You could opt out of the wine by substituting a chicken or vegetable broth). Deglaze the pan, scraping up all the flavor bits from the skillet.

Add the tomato paste, whisking and cooking for 1-2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce; add the Italian seasoning and sugar*.
*The sugar is to balance out the acidity of the tomato sauce.

Stir until combined and bubbly hot. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking. Note: The reason I prefer to use low-salt tomato products is so that I can control the salt-intake.

Add the vegetables to the sauce and stir to combine; reduce heat to low.

Polenta:

Bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the milk. Slowly whisk in the corn meal, which will begin to thicken very quickly. Reduce the heat. Add the Parmesan cheese, butter, and mascarpone and whisk until melted and combined. Taste for seasoning. To keep the Polenta warm (up to 20 minutes), cover with a lid.

To serve, if the Polenta is too thick, you can smooth it out by adding a little low-salt chicken stock, milk or water.


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