Dear Danielle: One look, and I would never have guessed this dish was vegetarian. Seasoned, seared eggplant "steaks" (studded with hearts of palm to mimic osso buco) are plated over a rustic polenta, topped with a spoonful of rich mushroom Bolognese sauce and served alongside bright broccolini to make a rather stunning presentation. This is one meal that may convert even the most ardent meat eater. Enjoy!
Eggplant osso buco, mushroom Bolognese, rustic polenta
Total time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Note: Adapted from Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara. The restaurant uses "otto file" polenta from Anson Mills, available at select specialty markets and cooking stores, as well as online.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup finely minced celery
1/3 cup finely minced onion
1/3 cup finely minced carrot
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 cup minced shiitake mushrooms
1 cup minced portabello mushrooms
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup mushroom or vegetable broth
2 sprigs fresh tarragon