Moosewood’s Ratatouille with Creamy Polenta and Goat Cheese (for 1)


In the late 1980s if you ever wanted to trigger Jay, just mention “Moosewood.” Not only did Moosewood’s cookbooks sell a ka-jillion copies, but the restaurant (in Ithaca) was also a tourist attraction and food mecca. So when young Jay opened a quaint little bistro around the corner, it was no fun competing with an 800-pound gorilla. In his first year, customers referred to his dining room as “Moosewood’s overflow.”  The experience left him chastened but made him a better chef. And five years later his dining room was full, his first cookbook was published, and the ‘locals’ lifted him out from under Moosewood’s shadow. 

Time heals all wounds, and this week’s Ratatouille with Creamy Polenta pays tribute to the legendary vegetarian pioneers. Jay’s Moosewood-inspired Ratatouille features roasted eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, and bell peppers simmered with onion, carrots, garlic, stewed tomatoes, and parsley. The hearty Ratatouille goes over polenta (slow-cooked with cornmeal and Parmesan) and gets topped with goat cheese.

Oh, if you’re wondering, 25 years later Moosewood is still standing. And so is Jay’s. 

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