Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

Inspired by New Vegetarian Cuisine by Linda Rosensweig. Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1994.

The Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups diced eggplant
1 cup diced onion
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup finely diced mushrooms
1 14-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet with high sides over medium heat. Saute the eggplant and mushrooms until lightly browned, about 5-10 minutes. Add the mushrooms, onion and pepper and cook another 5 minutes until softened. Add tomatoes, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 40 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the polenta.

When the sauce is done, finish by stirring in the butter. Sprinkle with parsley and basil.

Polenta
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3 cups water
1 Tbsp. butter
salt
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

There are many fancy directions for polenta but I never have a problem with my very unorthodox method.

In a heavy (LeCrueset) pot add the cornmeal, water, butter and salt. Turn the heat to medium and bring to a boil, whisking often. Turn the heat down to low, cook stirring often with a wooden spoon until smooth and thickened, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in the cheese.

To serve:
Pour polenta on a platter and top with some of the sauce. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

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