Moosewood’s Ratatouille with Creamy Polenta and Goat Cheese (for 1)
This week the New York Times ran a story about Moosewood (the legendary vegetarian restaurant celebrated its 50th anniversary; their cookbooks have sold millions). Jay and Moosewood have a complicated history. In the 1980s a young Chef Jay opened a little bistro around the corner from Moosewood — and it was no fun competing with an 800-pound gorilla (and tourist mecca). In his first year, customers referred to his dining room as “Moosewood’s overflow.” The experience left him chastened but also made him a better chef. And five years later his dining room was also full, his first cookbook was published, and the ‘locals’ lifted him out from beneath Moosewood’s shadow.
Time heals all wounds, and this week’s Ratatouille with Creamy Polenta pays tribute to the vegetarian pioneers. Jay’s Moosewood-inspired Ratatouille features roasted eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, and bell peppers simmered with onion, carrots, kale, garlic, stewed tomatoes, and parsley. The hearty Ratatouille goes over polenta (slow-cooked with cornmeal, Jack cheese, and Parmesan) and gets topped with goat cheese.