Spring Vegetable Stew with Soft Polenta
Stew is almost a misnomer for this light, brothy dish that makes the most of tender spring vegetables. To easily cut the veggies into long matchsticks, use the 1/4-inch matchstick attachment on the mandoline and hold the veggies diagonally as you slice.
1. Bring 8 cups salted water to a boil, and fill large bowl with 8 cups ice water. Add carrot to boiling water, and simmer 1 minute. Add squash and zucchini, and cook 1 minute more. Drain, and plunge in bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain, and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms, and sprinkle with salt. Sauté 10 minutes, or until liquid is released and mushrooms begin to brown. Add leeks and garlic, and sauté 5 minutes. Add olives, and sauté 1 minute more. Stir in tomatoes and white beans. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Whisk together polenta and 4 cups salted water in 2-qt. saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. Reduce heat to low, and cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until thick and porridge-like, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper. Stir carrots, zucchini, and squash into stew; simmer 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve stew on top of polenta.