Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Herbed Polenta with a Tomato Ragout

A few weeks ago I bought a package of stone ground cornmeal to make homemade polenta. Tonight I finally took on the challenge.

I found inspiration from this recipe for polenta and this idea for baking polenta. I read through them, combined a few ideas, thought about the ingredients I had on hand, and came up with this Herbed Polenta with a Tomato Ragout -

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chicken broth (you could use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 leaves of sage, minced
  • 1 small sprig of thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese; I used a mix of white cheddar and asiago
  • Ragout: 1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used 1 package of grape tomatoes), 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, pinch of salt

Directions

  • Combine broth, herbs, garlic, and salt; bring to a boil
  • Slowly whisk in the cornmeal, just a bit at a time.
  • Lower heat to medium-low and continue to whisk until the polenta becomes thick and creamy and starts to pull away from the edges of the pan. This took about 18 minutes.

  • In the meantime, heat olive oil in a pan. Add the ingredients for the ragout and cook over medium heat for 7 minutes. Set aside.

  • Once the polenta is just about done, whisk in the cheese until creamy.
  • Spoon half of the polenta into a baking dish. Top with the ragout and then spoon in the rest of the polenta. Top with just a bit of shredded cheese.
  • Bake on 400 for 30-40 minutes - covered for the first half, uncovered for the rest - until golden brown.

I wish my blog had a "scratch-n-sniff" capability because it smells sooo good in here right now! Here is the finished product.
It was sooo yummy - one of the best things I have tasted in a while. My one wish is that it was a little firmer; I think I can achieve that next time by letting it cool in a pan to set for a bit before baking it. I served the polenta with a side of sauteed spinach - fresh baby spinach sauteed in olive oil and sprinkled with some Kosher salt.

One word of advice - warm up your arms and be ready to get a workout from the constant whisking! I had just done an upper body workout so my arms were exhausted by the time I was done cooking. It was well worth it though and I'd do it again.

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4 comments:

Kayte said...

oh wow. this looks absolutely incredible Mary Ellen! i will definitely be making this soon. wow.

Ally said...

MMMMM, looks so comforting.

madebymel said...

You make me want to try polenta!

MrsPresley said...

i've been wanting to try polenta, this recipe looks so good!