Sunday, November 27, 2011

Meatless Monday

This week we are featuring a dessert recipe along with an entree.

Autumn Vegetable Ragout with Soft Polenta
YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Photo by: James Carrier

Recipe from :

·         1 1/2 cups dried small white beans, rinsed, or 2 cans (15 oz. each) white beans (see notes)
·         3 tablespoons olive oil
·         2 tablespoons minced garlic
·         1 onion (about 8 oz.), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
·         1 pound parsnips, peeled, ends trimmed, and cut into 1-inch chunks
·         2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
·         About 1/2 teaspoon salt
·         About 1/4 teaspoon pepper
·         1 pound kale
·         1 can (28 oz.) diced or crushed tomatoes
·         1/2 cup pitted calamata olives, chopped
·         Soft polenta see recipe below


1. Sort beans for debris, then rinse. In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, bring beans and about 2 quarts water to a boil. Cover, boil for 2 minutes, and remove from heat. Let stand at least 2 and up to 4 hours. Drain beans, rinse, return to pan, and add 2 quarts water. Bring to a simmer over high heat, cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until beans are tender to bite, about 40 minutes. Drain beans, reserving 4 cups cooking liquid (see notes).

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix olive oil and garlic. Add onion, parsnips, squash, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix to coat evenly. Spread mixture in single layers in two 12- by 15-inch baking pans. Bake in a 400° regular or convection oven for 15 minutes. Stir with a wide spatula and bake until vegetables are tender when pierced, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

3. Rinse kale and tear leaves from center ribs; discard ribs and stems. In a 6- to 8-quart pan over high heat, bring about 2 quarts water to a boil. Add kale leaves and cook, uncovered, until tender to bite, 2 to 3 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon and immerse in cold water until cool. Drain and coarsely chop.

4. In a 6- to 8-quart pan over high heat, combine beans, the 4 cups reserved bean cooking liquid (see notes), roasted vegetables, tomatoes with their juices, and olives. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 15 minutes to blend flavors. Add kale and cook to heat, 1 to 2 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Mound polenta on dinner plates or in shallow bowls and ladle vegetable ragout over polenta.

Notes: If using dried beans, save 4 cups cooking liquid to use in the ragout; if using canned beans, reserve and measure the liquid when draining and add water to equal 4 cups. You can roast the vegetables and blanch the kale up to 4 hours ahead; wrap separately and chill, then proceed from step 4. Prepare the polenta while the ragout cooks.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving

Calories: 348;   calories from fat: 22%;  Protein: 13g;  Fat: 8.6g;  Saturated fat: 1.2g; Carbohydrate: 60g;  Fiber: 11g ;         Sodium: 489mg;  Cholesterol: 0.0mg

Soft Polenta


  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups coarse polenta
  •             1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter
  •             3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  •             Pepper

In a 4- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat, bring 9 cups water to a boil. Whisk in salt and polenta. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until polenta is smooth to taste, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and parmesan cheese; add pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm over low heat.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
                 Calories: 213;   Calories from fat: 37% ; Protein: 6.1g;  Fat: 8.8g ; Saturated fat: 5.2g ;   Carbohydrate: 27g ;
·         Fiber: 1.8g ;  Sodium: 493mg;   Cholesterol: 22mg ;

The butternut squash can be substituted with Sweet Potatoes.

Butternut Squash Pie

1 unbaked and chilled 9-inch pie shell

1 large butternut squash, cooked and pureed, about 1 1/2 cups pureed squash

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

3 large eggs

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla


 1.    To cook squash:
Cut the squash in half lengthwise; remove stem and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash, cut side down, on a foil-lined oiled baking pan; add about 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Cover loosely with foil and bake at 400° for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the squash is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool completely then peel and mash or puree the squash or put it through a food mill. Measure 1 1/2 cups of the squash and set aside.

2.    Reduce oven to 350° F and position an oven rack in the center of the oven. In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat the squash with the brown sugar. Add eggs, whipping cream, spices salt, flour, butter, and vanilla. Beat until well blended.

3.    Pour the filling into the chilled pie crust and place on the center oven rack. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until set. Check after about 35 minutes and loosely set a ring of foil or a pie crust protector over the browned crust so it won't get too dark. When the filling is set, transfer the pie to a rack to cool. Serve just warm or at room temperature.

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