Eggplant Vegetaballs

Team: CVU Chefhawks 1

Host School: CVU High School

Age Group: High School



3 T olive oil

1 lb eggplant, unpeeled, cut into cubes no larger than 1 inch

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 t salt

½ t pepper

1 onion, chopped

1 T minced garlic

1 cup canned white beans

¼ c chopped fresh parsley

Pinch red chile flakes


Tomato Sauce:

2 T olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 T minced garlic

1 t salt

½ t pepper

Red chili flakes, to taste

2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, with their juice

1 8 ounce can tomato sauce

1 cup chopped fresh basil or ½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Polenta Rustica:

3 T butter

½ cup finely chopped onion

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup cornmeal

½ to 1 cup parmesan

¼ t salt or to taste




Preparation Instructions


Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Use 1 T olive oil to grease a baking sheet.  Put 1 T oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  When it’s hot, add the eggplant and ¼ cup water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pieces shrivel a bit and are tender and beginning to color, 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer the eggplant to the bowl of the food processor.

Add the remaining 1 T oil to the pan along with the onion and garlic and return to the heat.  Cook, stirring frequently until they’re soft and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, drain the beans, rinse them.  Add the beans and parsley to the work bowl with the eggplant and pulse until well combined and chopped, but not pureed.

Toss the eggplant mixture with the onion and garlic, then add the breadcrumbs and red chile flakes.  Taste and adjust the seasoning. Roll the mixture into balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Roll balls bread crumbs.  Bake until firm and well browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

Tomato Sauce:

Put the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  When it’s hot, add the onion and garlic, ½ t salt, pepper and the red chile flakes.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, 3-5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and the remaining ½  t salt and adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down, the vegetables become very soft, and the mixture thickens, 15-20 minutes.  If the mixture looks too thick, stir in a splash of water.

Stir in the herb, taste and adjust the seasoning.

Polenta Rustica:

Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and cook until translucent.  Add the 3 cups of hot chicken broth.

Mix the cornmeal into the remaining 1 cup of cold chicken broth.

Add the cornmeal/chicken broth mixture to the hot onion/chicken broth mixture,  whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Cook, whisking over low heat for 5 minutes.  

Stir in parmesan and salt.   

To  serve: create a “puddle” of polenta.  Spoon sauce in puddle. Add meatballs and cover with more sauce.  Sprinkle additional parmesan cheese if desired.