Polenta with Eggplant Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 medium eggplants, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2 cups (250 g) polenta
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped parsley, to garnish
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Cook the shallot, garlic and onion and for 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook 4-5 more minutes. Everything should be golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet. Add the eggplant and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, until golden and starting to soften. Add the bell pepper and cook 3-4 more minutes over medium heat, until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and the onion-mushroom mixture, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens, around 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, bring 6 1/2 cups water to a boil and slowly whisk in the polenta, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, whisking frequently, until thick and creamy. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (If using instant polenta, cook according to instructions.)
Transfer the polenta to a deep serving plate, spoon over the eggplant sauce, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.