Ratatouille with Sausage over Polenta

rata2I love ratatouille. I have always considered it to be a peasant type food, that was best made sans formal recipes. Get your hands dirty! Figuratively speaking that is.

You get the best ingredients and you love them until they reduce to this delightful silken wonder of melded tastes.

See? I wax poetic when it comes to ratatouille.

Anyway, so dearly do I love the stuff that it seemed only fair to marry it to another favorite, Parmesan Polenta and some great sausages. This makes such a great meal.

I hope you enjoy it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 recipe of Parmesan Polenta, made the day before. If you want your polenta pourable, then you can make it at the same time.
  • 1 medium to large eggplant, diced (depending on age, peel, salt, and rinse to remove bitterness. I try to obtain small young eggplants and not have to peel or salt)
  • 1 lg onion, sliced semi-thinly or in a larger dice
  • 2-3 medium zucchini, or any variety or combination of summer squash, diced
  • 1 lg sweet pepper, diced. Italian frying peppers are superb here if you can get them.
  • 4 lg cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 3 c seeded tomatoes, diced (you can peel them if you wish, but this is rustic)
  • 6 crimini mushrooms, diced
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 c chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 sausages (any type you like)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, grated (at the table)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large saute pan, heat up some olive oil, about 1/4 c. When shimmering, add the eggplant, onion, zucchini, and sweet pepper. Fry, letting them get some nice char on the edges before stirring. Allow to get softened. Medium heat.
  2. Add the mushrooms and garlic and continue sauteing until the mushrooms have softened.
  3. Salt and pepper generously, at least a teaspoon of each.
  4. Add the tomatoes and stir, reducing the heat, and covering the pan. Cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and continue cooking the mixture down until the tomatoes have broken down nicely and the mixture starts to get a saucy consistency but while the vegetables still retain their integrity. This can take a long time if done slowly which is what you want. Plan a good hour for this step.
  6. Meanwhile, place the sausages in another pan and saute just enough to get some nice char. You can leave them whole or slice as you wish. Don’t put them in the ratatouille however, since the intense flavors of the sausage will get leached out and they will be too bland. Add them to the dish and then stir in just before serving.
  7. Add parsley also at the end just before serving.
  8. Add additional olive oil to get a nice sheen on the dish at serving time as well.
  9. Slice the polenta into squares, saute in olive oil until warmed and just toasted on the outside. Turn and do the other side, browning slightly. (You can do this on the grill if you like as well. Brush with olive oil before placing on the grill)
  10. Plate with a slice of polenta and a couple of ladles of the ratatouille.
  11. Dust with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

SERVES: 4

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

NOTES: Because it takes a bit of time to cook down the ratatouille properly, this is a perfect recipe to start in the morning. Take your time and reduce the sauce until its glistening, and thick and the tomatoes are nicely broken down. You can just turn it off,¬† cover and leave it on the stove for later at this point, or refrigerate if you desire. Since it will water up a bit when cooled, when you reheat, plan on reducing it a bit further, about 30 minutes on low heat, just letting it bubble and steam away the accumulated liquid. You don’t want it dry, but just not watery.

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Pork Chops with Prosciutto Sauced UP

 

 

All the lovely pork chop. For reasons unknown to me, bone-in pork chops have to almost be requested at the grocery store here. Which is a real shame. Bone-in is to be preferred folks, as much as possible.

You think you are getting more for your money by getting boneless! NO. You are paying for them to cut it out, and the flavor you get from the bone is so worth it. Bring back the 7-bone pot roast!

Okay, end of rant. Now on to the recipe, which is so delightful. Cream sauces are so succulent and who can go wrong with gorgeous prosciutto? This is a fast recipe, so don’t shy away. Give yourself and yours a treat this week.

(I have found this recipe exactly as follows on a couple of sites, so I don’t know exactly who to give credit to, but I found this one at Cassie Craves. And by the way, this passed the husband test, who having grown up in Iowa, knows his pork!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 loin chops, thicker rather than thin. At least a 1/2 inch.
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 4 oz prosciutto
  • 2 TBSP fresh sage (dried will do for this as well–reduce to about a tsp if dried)
  • 1 small red onion ( or white), chopped
  • 2 TBSP chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil (or use cherry tomatoes chopped)
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 2/3 c heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the pork which has been salted and peppered on both sides. Cook until nicely browned, turn and do the same on the other side. Don’t worry about cooking through. Remove to a plate, cover.
  2. Add the prosciutto, (cut in 1″ pieces), onion and sage. Cook until onion is tender. Add fresh tomatoes at this point. If using the sun-dried, wait until you have cooked up the onion a bit.
  3. Scrape up the bottom and then add the wine, simmering enough to let the wine reduce. Then add the cream and stir. Add the chops back in, along with any juices, and simmer about 15 minutes, until pork is done and the cream has thickened up. Add a bit more butter at the end, if the sauce seems too thin to you.

Serves: 4

NOTE: I served this with mashed potatoes. Noodles would also be excellent. I try to give you some alternatives here so you can work with what you may have on hand. Bacon could substitute of course for the prosciutto but you will miss the unique taste. Also, you can brine your pork chops before hand. Cover with water add 1/4 c of salt or so, place in fridge for about 4 hours or so before using. Pat dry before cooking.