Sliced polenta on the bottom and a spoonful of pesto or olive tapenade on top add a gourmet angle to this slow-simmered beef recipe.
In a large skillet, cook ground beef until brown. Drain off fat. Transfer meat to a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Stir in undrained tomatoes, carrots, onions, sweet pepper, broth, salt, black pepper, and garlic.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 9 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours.
If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Stir in zucchini. Cover and cook about 30 minutes more or until zucchini is crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, prepare polenta according to package directions. Serve meat mixture over polenta. Top individual servings with pesto. If desired, garnish with basil. Makes 6 servings.