Vegetable Bolognese over Polenta

This cabernet is rife with the richness of Rutherford dust. It is packed with many layers, echoed by the layers of flavor in this vegetable Bolognese. The mushrooms, eggplant, and herbs bolster the earthy, dusty undertones, while the sweetness of the carrots and tomatoes and salinity of the capers and olives bring out vibrancy and bright, ripe fruit flavors of tart cherry and raspberry. Creamy polenta tames youthful tannin, allowing complexity to emerge even more readily.

Vegetable Bolognese over Polenta

A rich meal for the cold, long winter days. Pour yourself a glass of Cabernet to enjoy while cooking to build excitement for the meal to come!

Prep Time — 25 min

Total Time — 2 hrs 45 min

Makes 4 – 6

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  • 2 tbsp. — Olive oil
  • 1 — Shallot, minced
  • 2 — Garlic cloves, minced
  • 7 to 8 — Cremini mushrooms, diced
  • 1 — Japanese eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 2 — Carrots, peeled, small dice
  • 1/2 — Red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 stalks — Celery, small dice
  • 1/2 tsp. — Dried Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. — Fennel seed, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. — Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 cup — Red wine
  • 4 — Sprigs of fresh thyme, diced
  • 1 — Sprig fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 4 — Large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tbsp. — Capers, minced
  • 1 tbsp. — Castelvetrano olives, mince
  • 2 tbsp. — Tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. — Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. — Heavy cream
  • 4 tbsp. — Parmesan
  • Italian parsley and fresh basil for garnish

For the polenta: 

  • 4 cups — Water
  • 2 tsp. — Salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 cup — Yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tbsp. — Salted butter
  • 1 cup — Grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup — Whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. — Freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning


  1. Add the water to a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the 2 teaspoons of salt and gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 30-35 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted. Stir in the Parmesan and incorporate well. Add the cream and 1 teaspoon of black pepper and stir until incorporated. Taste the polenta, and add a little more salt and a little ground black pepper, if necessary. Transfer to bowls and serve topped with vegetable Bolognese.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Season the tomatoes with ¼ t each of the oregano, fennel seed, coriander, salt and pepper.  Roast until they release their juices and edges begin to caramelize, 20-30 minutes.  Transfer to blender and blend until very smooth.
  4. To a large pot, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and eggplant and sauté until browned.  Add shallot, garlic, carrot, pepper, celery, carrots, and remaining spices.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, then add red wine and simmer until reduced by 2/3rds.
  5. Pour in the roasted tomato puree and bring to a simmer.  Add Thyme and rosemary, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.   Stir in the tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, capers, and olives and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Adjust the thickness of the sauce with water if necessary.  Finish with heavy cream.
  6. Serve over polenta and garnish with Parmesan and fresh herbs.

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Featured Wine

2015 Tonella Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

On the nose, this classic Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of bright, fresh red fruit and subtle spice, with hints of pepper and truffle in the background. The palate is silky with flavors of cherry, plum, dates, and raspberry. Decant when young or cellar 10-15 years.Winery Exclusive 93 Points - Gold - Sunset International Wine Competition

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