This Vegetable Cacciatore with Soft Polenta is incredible! All of the flavors of a traditional cacciatore and served over creamy soft polenta. Vegan and gluten free options.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 24 ounces cremini mushrooms and/or white button mushrooms sliced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 stalk celery sliced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 medium carrot sliced
- 1 medium zucchini quartered lengthwise and sliced
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 to 6 sun dried tomatoes sliced (optional)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour omit to keep this gluten free
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 28 ounce San Marzano whole tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme or 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or more, to taste
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
- 15 ounce cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1 to 2 handfuls fresh spinach
- fresh basil leaves for serving
- grated Parmesan for serving omit for vegans and vegetarians
- <b>Soft Polenta</b>
- 1 1/4 cup milk use vegetable broth to keep this vegan
- 1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup quick cooking polenta
- 1 tablespoon butter use olive oil to keep this vegan
- few pinches of salt to taste
- 1/8 cup Parmesan omit for vegans and vegetarians
Heat the olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes. They will soak up all of the olive oil, then release all of their moisture after a few minutes then begin to dry up and brown at about the ten minute mark. At that point, add the onions, celery, red pepper and carrot, Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the zucchini, garlic and sun dried tomatoes. Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour (if using) and toss to coat. Add the white wine. Using your hands, squeeze each tomato from the can over the pot to break it up. I like to remove the stem end and discard it. Add the remaining sauce from the can and the oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes and capers.
Bring the pot to a light boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for 35 to 45 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Add the cannellini beans and the spinach. Cook for another ten minutes to warm the beans and wilt the spinach.
<b>To make the polenta:</b> In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the milk and vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Add the polenta while whisking. Cook for three minutes. Add the butter or olive oil. Salt to taste. Top with grated Parmesan.
Serves 4 (doubles easily)
Serve on top of polenta, pasta or mashed potatoes with a sprinkling of fresh basil and grated Parmesan, if desired.