The Mediterranean diet and specifically the Lebanese one include a lot of vegetables. It is part of our culture and the flavor and aroma education we are giving our kids. We love vegetables and we eat them throughout the day, from breakfast to dinner even at snack time! We just love them: raw, roasted, steamed, grilled… This is why we always have a vegetable side or salad to compliment every meal.
While planning my weekly menu, I make sure to program at least two days of vegetarian meals. It balances out our week.
The Polenta with Fontina and Roasted Vegetables quickly became a family favorite. It is hearty, cheesy, creamy, colorful and deliciously vegetarian. It can be served in one large baking dish or in individual ramekins. The presentation is gorgeous but the taste is even better!!
You can serve it with a simple green salad.
Polenta with Fontina and Roasted Vegetables
Adapted from One Pot of the Day. Kate McMillan
3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 small Eggplant, cut into ¾-inch (2cm ) pieces
2 small Zucchini, cut into ¾-inch (2 cm) pieces
2 small Yellow Summer Squash, cut into ¾-inch (2 cm) pieces
1 Red Onion, cut into ¾-inch (2 cm) pieces
1 Orange Capsicum, seeded and cut into ¾-inch (2 cm) pieces
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 cup (200 g) stone-ground Polenta
2 Tablespoon unsalted Butter
1 cup (125 g) grated Parmesan Cheese
2 cups (250 g) shredded Fontina Cheese
Scale and prep all the ingredients.
You will need a large bowl, 2 rimmed baking sheets (lined with aluminum foil, way easier for cleaning!), a large pot, a whisk, one 8-inch (20 cm) baking dish OR 6 small ramekins.
Heat the oven to 450F (230C).
Lightly oil each ramekin (or one big baking dish) and place them on one baking sheet (lined with aluminum foil. Think about the cleaning!)
In a large bowl combine all the diced ingredients: eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, onion and orange capsicum. Drizzle the olive oil on top of the vegetables, season with salt and pepper. Mix well making sure to coat everything evenly. Spread the seasoned vegetables on the baking sheet and put in the hot oven for 30 minutes total, tossing them every 10 minutes. Reserve.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350F (180C).
You can prepare the polenta while the vegetables are roasting in the oven.
Put the large pot over high heat, with 4 cups (1 L) of water seasoned with salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Slowly sprinkle the polenta while whisking constantly; until the polenta begins to thicken (around 5 minutes). Reduce the heat to low and cook the polenta for 30 more minutes, stirring often. The polenta should be soft and cooked through. Add the shredded cheeses and the butter and mix well using a wooden spoon or a silicon spatula. Once the cheese in completely melted, equally pour the polenta into 6 different ramekins (or in one big 8-inch (20 cm) baking dish). Even out the top.
Put in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the polenta starts to set. Remove the baking baking sheet, and evenly top each ramequin with the roasted vegetables. Put it back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.