About this recipe:This colourful vegetable casserole is finished with a fresh and punchy mixture of parsley, garlic, lemon zest and toasted almonds, and served with fluffy Parmesan polenta. Touches like these can transform a simple vegetable dish into a feast for the eye and palate.
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges
12 baby corn
1 small or ½ large butternut squash, about 600 g (1 lb 5 oz), peeled, quartered lengthways, seeded and cut across into 2.5 cm (1 in) slices
1 aubergine, halved lengthways and cut across into 2.5 cm (1 in) slices
1 Romano sweet red pepper, seeded and cut into 1 cm (½ in) pieces
100 ml (3½ fl oz) dry white wine
500 ml (17 fl oz) hot vegetable stock, preferably home-made light or rich
salt and pepper
2 tbsp slivered almonds
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
finely shredded or coarsely grated zest of 1 lemon
5 tbsp chopped parsley
200 g (7 oz) instant polenta
55 g (2 oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
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Method Prep:20min › Cook:45min › Ready in:1hr5min
Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole. Add the onion wedges and baby corn and fry over a moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4).
Add the slices of butternut squash to the casserole, toss them in the oil and then stir in the aubergine and sweet red pepper. Cover and leave the vegetables to sweat over a low to moderate heat for 10 minutes, turning them twice, until they are lightly tinged golden brown. Pour in the wine, let it sizzle and then stir in the stock. Bring to the boil and add seasoning to taste. Cover the casserole and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the topping. Preheat the grill to high. Spread the slivered almonds on a baking tray and toast under the grill until they are lightly browned. Watch them closely and shake the tray occasionally to ensure the nuts are evenly toasted. Place in a small bowl and mix in the remaining topping ingredients.
To prepare the polenta, bring 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) water to the boil in a large saucepan over a high heat. Gradually whisk in the polenta and continue whisking until the polenta absorbs all the liquid. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook for 5–10 minutes, stirring, until the polenta is thick. Beat in the Parmesan cheese and oregano with seasoning to taste.
To serve, spoon the polenta onto plates or into large individual bowls. Ladle the vegetable casserole on top and sprinkle with the topping.