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Zucchini Caponata


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 4 small zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into small cubes

  • 4 small ribs celery, finely chopped

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 1 cubanelle pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 1 small red chili pepper, preferably Fresno or Holland, chopped or thinly sliced

  • 1 red or yellow onion, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1/2 cup Sicilian green olives, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins

  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar or a splash of dry white wine

  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 ounces)

  • A handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

  • A few leaves of fresh basil, torn

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 cup quick-cooking polenta

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • A generous handful of grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese


In a large saucepan, heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, celery, bell pepper, cubanelle pepper, chili pepper, onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are softened, 12-15 minutes. Stir in the olives and raisins. Add the vinegar or splash of wine, then stir in the tomato sauce. Lower the heat and simmer for about 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and basil, reserving a few leaves of each.

In a medium size saucepan, bring the stock and milk to a boil. Whisk in the polenta until it pulls away from the pan, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the butter, then the cheese; turn off the heat. Serve the polenta in shallow bowls and top with the caponata and reserved herbs.