This is a fast full-flavored dish. Healthy too! I always forget about how much I enjoy creamy polenta. 🙂 We ate it for dinner but it would also be wonderful for brunch.
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Todd Porter and Diane Cu. I increased the salt, doubled the tomatoes, and made homemade pesto. The pesto recipe is from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. Tasty!
Yield: Serves 3 (in my house!) or 4
For the Pesto: (Makes about 1 cup)
- 2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
- coarse salt
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 T pine nuts or walnuts
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano
For the Dish:
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup polenta
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used Campari)
- 3/4 to 1 cup pesto
To Make the Pesto:
- Combine the basil with a pinch of salt, the garlic, the nuts, and about half of the oil in a food processor or blender.
- Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary and adding the rest of the oil gradually.
- Add more oil if you prefer a thinner mixture. (Sometimes I add a little bit of stock instead to achieve the same result.)
- Stir in the cheese.
To Finish the Dish:
- In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. (I use a cast iron pot.) While whisking, gradually pour the polenta into the water.
- Reduce the heat to simmer or low and continue whisking for an additional minute.
- Continue cooking for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot.
- Remove the polenta from the heat when it is tender and creamy and has reached your desired thickness.
- Stir the salt and butter into the polenta until the butter is melted.
- Scoop polenta out onto plates. Top each with about 1/4 cup pesto. Divide tomatoes among plates. Serve. (We individually mixed together all of the ingredients before digging in!)
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