Roasted Root Vegetable Ragout with Polenta
I know you probably don't have many of the vegetables in this recipe. It doesn't matter. The point is to use lots of different vegetables that can be roasted. I provide some substitutes in the ingredients, but use your imagination. Variety is the key. Don't like the fact that this is vegetarian? Add diced bacon or ham, or a little Italian sausage out of the casing. Not a fan of polenta? Eat this with crusty bread, or with short pasta like gemelli or penne.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Servings: 4 people
- 2 onions, quartered
- 1 head garlic, cloves peeled
- 1 pound fingerling potatoes or jerusalem artichokes
- 1/2 pound crosnes (optional)
- 1/2 pound hopniss (optional)
- 4 or 5 salsify roots (optional)
- 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
- 2 or 3 parsley roots or parsnips
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 large can peeled whole tomatoes, 28- or 32-ounce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 cups chopped chard or other leafy greens
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup polenta or grits
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cut all the vegetables for the ragout into pieces you'd want to eat with polenta: bite-sized or whatever. Coat with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Put the veggies into a roasting pan and roast in the oven until they are nicely browned, about 30 to 40 minutes. Turn them occasionally.
Meanwhile, make the polenta. Bring the water to a boil in a medium pot and add a healthy pinch of salt. Sprinkle the polenta into the boiling water with one hand while you stir the water with another. This helps prevent lumps. Turn the heat to medium-low until the polenta bubbles gently. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until the polenta is creamy, about 30 minutes. When it's creamy, turn the heat as low as it will go for now.
When the vegetables are ready, move them into a large, wide pot, like a high-sided frying pan. Pour the white wine into the roasting pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Pour all that into the pot with the vegetables.
Crush the canned tomatoes by hand into the pot and pour in all the juices from the can. Add the bay leaves and thyme. Stew this over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Add the butter and cheese to the polenta, stirring well. If the polenta is too thick, stir in a little water. The polenta should be smooth and be able to flow a little in a bowl.
Add the chard and parsley to the ragout and cook until the chard has wilted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve in bowls over the polenta.