About this recipe:If you need comfort food fast, make a spicy ratatouille and serve it with delicious creamy polenta flavoured with Fontina or Dolcelatte cheese. Delicious!
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red or yellow pepper, sliced
1 medium-large courgette, cut into small chunks
1 small aubergine, cut into small chunks
1 large red chilli, seeded and sliced
1 litre boiling water
150g Fontina or Dolcelatte cheese, cubed
400g can chopped tomatoes with basil
15g fresh basil leaves, torn, plus basil leaves to garnish (optional)
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Method Prep:35min › Cook:30min › Ready in:1hr5min
Heat the oil in large pan over a medium heat and add the onion, garlic, pepper, courgette, aubergine and chilli. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add salt and ground black pepper.
While the ratatouille is cooking, put the boiling water in a large nonstick pan, bring back to the boil and add 1 tsp salt. Pour the polenta into the water in a steady stream with one hand, while you stir with a wooden spoon in the other hand.
Lower the heat and continue stirring briskly until the polenta begins to thicken and bubble slowly. It should be free from lumps. Half-cover the pan with a lid and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and mix in the cheese. Season with ground black pepper, then cover and set aside.
Stir the tomatoes into the ratatouille and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the torn basil. Spoon the polenta onto plates and put the ratatouille on top, with the garnish if using.
For Fontina or Dolcelatte cheese, use 50g grated Parmesan, Italian-style hard cheese or grana padano.
Make double the quantity of polenta, then use half with the ratatouille and pour the remainder into a baking tray, spreading it level. Cool until set, then cover and chill. Next day, cut into wedges or squares. Brush with 2 tbsp oil or melted butter, then grill at a high temperature until browned and crisp. Serve with a vegetable or meat sauce.
Polenta toast with sautéed mushrooms Make grilled polenta (see Cooking tip) and grill until browned and crisp. Meanwhile, slice 250g chestnut or large, flat mushrooms and 100g oyster or shiitake mushrooms, or use other mushrooms in season. Pan-fry in a large frying pan with 1 tbsp olive oil and a knob of butter, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms begin to wilt. Add 1 crushed garlic clove, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme and 2 tbsp dry sherry or vermouth. Season and add 2 tbsp crème fraîche or mascarpone. Pile on to the grilled polenta and top with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan or Italian-style hard cheese.