Roast tomatoes and aubergines with polenta, cheese and sourdough
- August 2019
- Serves 4 as a main or 6-8 as a sharing starter
- Hands-on time 20 min, oven time 1½ hours
Creamy, cheesy polenta is the perfect base for a chunky, rich, roasted ratatouille made with aubergines and sweet tomatoes.
Gill says: “My recipe calls for the best tomatoes you can find – try to hunt down heritage varieties. The roasting accentuates their sweetness and character, which is a match made in heaven for aubergine, garlic and capers.”
- Vegetarian recipes
- 14.5g (5.5g saturated)
- 41g (6.5g sugars)
- 1kg ripe mixed heritage tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
- 2 aubergines, sliced into 2-3cm thick rounds
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 tbsp small capers, rinsed and drained
- 2 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- Pinch chilli flakes
- 2-3 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 8 sourdough slices
- Small handful fresh basil leaves
- Small handful fresh parsley leaves
For the polenta
- 400ml whole milk
- 400ml good-quality vegetable stock, preferably fresh
- 125g quick-cook polenta
- 75g hard sheep’s cheese, such as pecorino, finely grated (or a vegetarian alternative)
- 25g butter
- Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 31/2. Put the tomatoes (cut-side up) and the aubergine slices on a roasting tray and scatter over the garlic, capers, fennel seeds and chilli flakes, then tear over the rosemary leaves. Drizzle over the 4 tbsp olive oil and season well.
- Roast for 1½ hours. Carefully stir or turn the vegetables once or twice during cooking, without breaking up the tomatoes.
- Meanwhile, cook the polenta: pour the milk and stock into a large heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Pour in the polenta in a slow, steady stream, stirring well as you add it. It will thicken quite quickly but will need gentle simmering for 6-8 minutes until the grain is cooked properly. If it becomes too thick, add a dash more stock. Stir in half the cheese and all the butter, then season well to taste.
- Toast the sourdough on both sides in a griddle pan, then drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Remove the tray from the oven, then roughly chop the basil and parsley leaves and scatter them over the veg.
- Spoon the polenta onto 4 warmed plates or a platter. Top with the roast veg and serve with the toast and the remaining cheese for sprinkling.
A lighter, juicy red such as bardolino or a simple rhône cuts it here. A rich rosé would suit too – not too cold.
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