Wednesday, March 10, 2010


God I love Polenta. But really only baked or fried... I'm not as much a fan of it when it's mushy. I've been wanting to make Polenta for weeks now, as it's hearty and vegetarian. I can't believe I haven't made it before.... it was crazy easy. I used the Barefoot Contessa recipe, but modified it for use with a 9.2 oz box of instant polenta (I know... I'll never be a French peasant's wife OR an Italian Grandmother... FALLIBLE). Although the only ingredient in mine was "Pre-cooked corn meal," so I think I'm fine. Anyway:

Baked Polenta with Sauteed Vegetables:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil (plus a touch more)
2 cloves minced garlic
1.5 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1.5 tsp minced fresh thyme (from my areo garden!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper (not that I ever measure salt and pepper...)
2 cups Homemade Roasted Vegetable Stock (basically, just like Emily's but I roasted the veggies first)
1 cup cream
2 cups milk (or just 3 cups milk... I just happened to have cream that would have otherwise gone bad)
1.5 cups instant polenta (or just the 9.2 oz box I had)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Make Polenta:
1. Heat the butter and oilve oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, salt, and pepper. After a minute, throw in the stock, and milk (and cream, or whatever), and bring all this to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the polenta, return to heat for a minute and keep stirring, stirring, stirring..... it'll start to get really thick and a little bubble. Remove from heat again and stir in the Parm. I poured this into a 9x9 baking dish and smoothed the top, then popped it into the fridge. Preheat your oven to 350.

Bake Polenta:
When the oven is ready (let's say 10 mins), take our the polenta from the fridge and bake for about 20-30 until the top is firm and a little crusty. Note that it doesn't brown... it's not a cookie!

Make a topping:
While your polenta is baking and becoming magic in the oven, make either a sauce or a ragout to top it! This is a great way to get rid of extra veggies lying around in the fridge, which is exactly what I did.
I used half a yellow onion, one red pepper, one medium zucchini, and a handful of cherry tomatoes. In a few tablespoons of olive oil, heat 2 cloves of garlic until fragrant, then add your onions and saute until they're not so firm. Add the peppers and zucchini and keep sauteing. Once these get a little soft, throw in your tomatoes with some salt and pepper. You don't want this to all get too mushy, so if everything starts to loose shape, you've gone a touch too far. Remove from heat and throw in some julienned basil leaves. Congratulations, you just made a delish topping for your polenta.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I love polenta. My mum used to make it when I was little, and it is super cheap (student budget!). I made tons of it last year in Canada.