for the polenta:
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups milk
1 cup cornmeal
fresh corn kernels from 4 - 5 ears of corn
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
for the stew:
2 cups chopped onion
2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 generous Tbs fresh chopped thyme (optional)
4-5 small to medium sized zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices
olive oil for sauteing vegetables
1/3 - 1/2 cup vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese for garnish
Combine 2 cups of vegetable stock and 2 cups of milk in a deep, heavy bottomed stainless steel pot on the stovetop and, just as it comes to a simmer, slowly whisk in a scant 1 cup of cornmeal and immediately turn the heat to the lowest setting.
You'll want to transfer that pot to the lowest burner setting you have and use a wooden spoon to stir it occasionally. It needs to cook along for about 20 minutes.
Remove the kernels of corn from 4 - 5 ears of corn, dice a couple of large ripe tomatoes, mince 1 large clove garlic, chop about 1 Tbs fresh thyme if you're using it, chop or slice 4 -5 small to medium sized zucchini and start the stew by sauteing about 2 cups of chopped onion in a little olive oil to soften.
At that point, add the zucchini and the garlic and let that cook that along for a few minutes. Then add the fresh thyme, if you're using it, and the diced tomatoes and add a little splash of vegetable stock and let it simmer along until the zucchini is just tender crisp.
Once you're happy with the zucchini turn the heat off on that and season it to taste.
Once the polenta is soft to the tooth, add the corn, stir that in and cook it along for 3 - 4 minutes, then add 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, stir that in, and it is time to eat.
Serve the polenta in a large shallow bowl with the stew on top and finish with more grated parmesan cheese.
If you're not worried about keeping this vegetarian, use chicken stock instead, and bulk it up, if you like, by cooking Italian sausage to serve with it.