Red wine and tomatoes are natural partners, but most tomato sauce recipes make vast quantities. This hearty one-serving dish can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the anchovy.
- For the polenta
- 2 cups water (may substitute low-sodium or homemade vegetable broth)
- 1/2 cup (uncooked) polenta (may substitute stone-ground cornmeal)
- Pinch kosher or sea salt
- For the eggplant and sauce
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small anchovy fillet, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 small clove garlic, cut into thin slices (1 teaspoon)
- 1 medium shallot, cut into thin slices (2 tablespoons)
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 small Italian eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup no-salt canned diced tomatoes, plus their juices
- 1/2 cup full-bodied red wine, such as shiraz or zinfandel
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
For the polenta: Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the polenta and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low, so the polenta is gently bubbling. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes, until the polenta is the consistency of pureed potatoes. Remove from the heat; cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, prepare the eggplant and sauce: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the anchovy (if using), garlic, shallot and crushed red pepper flakes, if desired; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the garlic and shallot start to brown and the anchovy has broken up completely.
Add the eggplant, then season with the salt and pepper to taste; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes or until it is nicely browned and has started to soften.
Add the tomatoes, their juices and the wine, stirring to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil; cook, stirring as needed, for 5 to 6 minutes, until the sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency. Remove from the heat.
Add the red wine vinegar and sugar, stirring to combine; taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Transfer the polenta to a wide, shallow bowl; spoon the eggplant and sauce on top. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano; serve hot.
From Food editor Joe Yonan.
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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