Red Pepper Coulis:
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 3 ounces (6 tablespoons or 3/4 stick) butter
- 2 roasted red bell peppers, seeded and peeled
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- Salt and pepper
- 1/8 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 onion, medium diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced medium
- 1 zucchini, medium dice
- 1 yellow squash, medium dice
- 1 small eggplant, medium dice
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup kalamata pitted black olives, cut in 1/2
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 fresh plum tomatoes, diced
- 6 to 8 sprigs fresh basil
For the Coulis:
Whisk the cornstarch into the vegetable broth. Melt the butter over medium heat in a saute pan, and then add the chicken broth mixture, red peppers and garlic. Simmer 30 minutes. *Pour hot mixture into blender and blend until smooth to make red pepper sauce. While the pepper sauce is simmering, begin the polenta.
For the Polenta:
Combine vegetable stock and cream in a large heavy saucepan. Heat to a gentle boil over medium heat, being careful not to burn. While whisking constantly, gradually add the cornmeal. Once cornmeal is incorporated, keep heat low and continue to whisk until mixture is slightly thickened and creamy. Stir in Parmesan, and season with pepper. (Since Parmesan is salty, add salt only if needed). Set aside in a warm place.
For the Ragout:
Heat oil in a saute pan. Saute onion, garlic, carrot, zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant, until they begin to soften. Stir in tomato paste, chopped fresh parsley, thyme, and let cook until flavors integrate, about 10 more minutes. Add olives and heat through. Season with salt and pepper, as needed. Remove from heat and stir in fresh tomato. Let sit to rest.
place cheese polenta onto serving plate, making a well in the center. Top with vegetable ragout in the center, and spoon red pepper coulis over top. Garnish with fresh basil.
*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.