This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands.
Yesterday, I showed you how to make the Roasted Garlic Roma Tomato Sauce from Ball® Fresh Preserving Products. This thick, flavorful sauce is a winner, because it’s both easy to make (the roasting/grilling step makes the tomatoes so easy to peel) and because it’s so versatile once in the jar.
It could easily replace the jars of store bought sauce we all keep around for nights when we can’t manage much, but it also can be used as a component in a longer cooking dish as well. That’s what I’ve done here. I’ve taken this tasty sauce and have combined it with some of the summer veg that’s so abundant right now. The result? A hearty, meatless braise that is simple to make but nice enough to serve to company.
You start the way so many of these things start. But warming a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a roomy pot and adding a chopping onion. Once that onion begins to color, you add a cubed eggplant (no need to salt or drain) and stir it well into the onions, so that it will also start to brown a bit. Then you add the zucchini and a couple crushed garlic cloves and work them in.
Once all the veg has had a chance to brown and soften a little, you add a quart of the Roasted Garlic Roma Tomato Sauce. Pour a cup of water into the jar and swirl it around well (so as not to leave behind even a bit of that flavor) and pour it into the pot as well. Give everything a good stir, reduce the heat to medium-low so that you maintain a very slow, lazy simmer, put a lid on the pot, and cook for about an hour. You want to stir occasionally to ensure that the bottom of the pot doesn’t burn, but otherwise it’s very hands off.
When the hour is up, remove the lid from the pot, turn the heat up to medium, and simmer a little more vigorously to cook off any water the braising process brought to the surface of the stew. Once it is as thick as you’d like it, taste to ensure that the seasoning levels are good. Finally, you are ready to serve.
I like to ladle this braise over a puddle of freshly cooked polenta (simmer 1 part coarse cornmeal with 4 parts salted water, until creamy and quite thick). If I don’t have the time to cook polenta, I’ll toss it with cooked penne or gemelli. Topped with a pinch of grated parmesan cheese, it makes a lovely late summer meal.
Summer Vegetable Braise with Roasted Garlic Roma Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 large eggplant diced
- 2-3 small zucchini diced
- 2 garlic cloves mashed or pressed
- 1 quart Roasted Garlic Roma Tomato Sauce
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- cooked polenta or pasta to serve
- Place a large pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and let it heat just until it begins to shimmer
- Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they start to develop some color.
- Add the eggplant and stir to incorporate. Finally, add the zucchini and garlic and stir to combine.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables start to color. Add the tomato sauce, water (the best way to do this is to pour the water into the sauce jar and give it a swirl, so that you don't lose any flavor), salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until the vegetables have softened, but haven't lost all identity.
- Remove the lid, increase the heat a little, and simmer more actively to cook off any watery liquid that might have accumulated on the surface of the braise.
- Taste and adjust the salt and pepper levels, as needed.
- Serve over cooked polenta or pasta and top with grated Parmesan cheese.
- If you can, make this braise the day before you want to serve it, as it improves overnight in the fridge.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Newell Brands as part of a compensated partnership. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.