June 26, 2013 § 57 Comments
Polenta is one of my best loved dinners and I enjoy it served creamy and cheesy, delicate and sweet, as well as complex and hearty. This polenta recipe is a bit hearty and crowned with a fresh parsley pesto and cherry tomato sauté. I particularly enjoy Bramata polenta. It is a rustic stone-milled corn which is moderately coarse for a thicker consistency.
My first polenta dinner was quite an experience. I had a friend over who wanted to prepare a classic dish he had as a child growing up in Italy. In my friend’s opinion the only way polenta should be eaten is with a rich meat sauce. His plan was to prepare Polenta with Chicken Livers. Once the polenta was cooked it was poured directly onto my dining table and topped with the chicken liver sauce. Although I was very impressed by the presentation, I do not have the palate for chicken livers so I kept trying to scrape the edges where the sauce didn’t touch. Even without the sauce, I was captivated by the creamy texture and tiny bits of corn meal similar to the grits my mom would prepare.
Throughout the years I have formed my own opinions about preparing and serving polenta. When cooking polenta, for added flavor I like using broth rather than water. Sometimes I add a few tablespoons of rosemary. I always include butter and when I am preparing a savory polenta a nice grated parmesan. To top it off…tomato sauce, pesto, honey and butter, or simply a handful of parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.
polenta with cherry tomatoes and parsley pesto
p o l e n t a
- 1 cup good quality polenta
- 6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
p e s t o
- large handful of parsley
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup grated grana padano or parmesan cheese
- salt to taste
t o m a t o s a u t e’
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt to taste
In a large pot heat 6 cups of broth. When the broth is about to boil, sprinkle in the polenta. Stir continuously over a low heat until it is a thick smooth mass. Continue cooking on low heat for about 40 minutes, stirring slowly and evenly. If polenta starts to spatter turn your heat lower and stir continuously until it settles. I usually stir once every 3-5 minutes until done.
While polenta is cooking prepare pesto. Place all pesto ingredients in a food processor and whizz until well combined. Set aside.
Place a non stick skillet on the stove with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Saute’ tomatoes for 2 minutes until soft. Season with a pinch of salt.
Once polenta is cooked add butter and parmesan, mix well and pour onto a large serving platter (or directly onto your table!). Top with pesto, tomatoes, grated cheese of choice and serve right away.
This sounds really good! I’ve never made a polenta dish, so I will have to try this!
I think you will really enjoy making polenta Nancy. The sauces and “toppings” are endless and fun to experiment with. So delicious…
Amazing! I’ve only ever tried polenta here in Argentina where it’s usually served with tomato meat sauce (at least that’s the way Juan’s mum makes it). But I’d love to try it with pesto! Oh, beautiful pesto! And the tomato sauté you introduced sounds amazing as well!
thanks so much for sharing my dear, have a great week!
Good evening! A tomato meat sauce was the only way my friend would prepare it too! Seriously…I have had polenta so many ways since that day. And pesto…you are right, beautiful pesto…we have been enjoying so many different types of pesto’s lately. It is my favorite “go to” right now. :)
Delicious looking polenta. I must try it in it’s softer form. I tend to make a loaf and toast it.
I would love to try it toasted. Is it a “corn bread” with polenta? Sounds really good and grainy! Polenta is very good as a savory porridge. It is worth a try…. :)
It is made the same way as the porridge but cooked a little longer. The bread (I have done) uses finer flour. It is delicious too.
I love polenta!! I had it first in Argentina with a red sauce, but I learned from a chef in MT to make it with sage brown butter… yum : )
Hi Anne! Great to hear from you and I have been enjoying your updates on your blog. Your little girls are adorable! :) I’ll have to try this with sage brown butter, sounds delicious! Your new city seems to be treating you well! :) Take care!
Thanks for the story. It made me chuckle as I remembered some of my own chicken liver stories … and of course, a good polenta dish is always a good thing.
Ha! Chicken livers…. never will be able to enjoy them!
I adore polenta! I always have it with melted cheese or mushrooms, or both :D
Yum…cheese and mushrooms would be fantastic on polenta. Doesn’t really require much…I love it too.
I hadn’t heard of Bramata before. I’ll have to take a look next time I’m at the store.
This particular brand was especially good (Moretti) I felt like it really changed the flavor with the grain being so rustic and coarse. Cooking time was a bit longer. I think it was well worth it. Especially compared to the flavor of a quick cooking polenta.
cool, thanks for the info!
Mmm.. this sounds great. I confess to being a polenta-cooking virgin which is silly when recipes such as this are around. I must, must try it!
Time to cook polenta! It is quite easy and the sauces are endless. I hope you do… :)
I too love polenta, I also never heard of Bramata but will try to locate some. Have seen them pour the polenta out onto a cutting board or something to serve, very dramatic. I’m with you on the chicken livers, love what you did. I’ll take it that way any day.
I usually buy the bag of polenta with the pheasant on it…I think it’s called Golden Pheasant and/or Bob’s Red Mill. This particular one Moretti was incredible. It really made a difference. I have used the cutting board for serving too! :)
I love polenta! Your version looks so good.
Thank you so much daisy! :)
This sounds like a wonderful dish. Polenta was — and still is — a favorite in my family, though I’ve never prepared it with pesto before — until now, that is. :)
My Grandfather brought a copper polenta pot back from Italy some 50 years ago. It’s now in my kitchen.
Oh my….a 50 year old copper polenta pot!! I would love to have one. What a treasure! I would love to see a polenta post from you!
I wrote a post featuring a tripe recipe and it is served over polenta, though it’s instant. Here’s the link but please delete it if you don’t like others posting links in your Comments section. I’ll understand, no problem. :) http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/2012/01/25/trippa-alla-stefanina/
Mmm. Love polenta. Especially chips made from leftover polenta the next day. The perfect excuse to make an extra large batch of polenta in the first place.
I have never made chips with the leftovers! I have seen them at the market. How do you do it? Maybe this would be a great post if you are up for it! :)
I think I might just take you up on that challenge. They are so delicious. And not too difficult to make once you know how. Perhaps next week.
Sounds great! Look forward to seeing it. I can’t wait! :)
Yum – I cook with polenta a lot. Do the standard wet polenta with mushroom ragout and each morning I have a sweet polenta (use water and milk) with blueberries (or other fruit) and sometimes with honey drizzled over. In fact I might pop off and make some now!
Sounds fantastic! Blueberries and milk! Yes! I love it. The mushroom ragout sounds lovely. I need to look for that recipe. Unless Ruby wants to feature it in her blog! :)
This is the recipe I always use – from a few years ago. Yummy! http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/17663/soft+polenta+with+mushroom+ragout
Thanks! I just took a look and it looks fantastic.
Seriously, directly unto the table? Why not. I’ve never had polenta, and it’s something else on my to buy list as I’ve found a store where I can buy it. I also love the sound of your parsley pesto! Hmm…with walnuts, both of which I have in. And there I was wondering what to make for later this week :)
As a young 20 something you can imagine having it poured onto the dining table leaving quite an impression on me. Well, I think I might have to make a chicken and thyme later this week! What a warm warming dish Johnny! :)
I love polenta, even the instant product has great appeal when well seasoned, soft and creamy.
Polenta is similar to Romanian mamaliga and we eat with with sour cream and cottage cheese. That’s my favorite way to eat it, but this tomato sauce looks delicious!
Oh wow. That sounds great. I’ll have to look into that, unless you have or will do a post! :)
Beautiful! I will try the leftover polenta with this recipe :-) , I read or dreamed that sometimes they cook polenta in Milk? Or did I really hallucinate that?
Good! I think you can cook it in milk…I think it may require water too. Nice to hear from you! :)
Agreed on the chicken liver! Never had polenta, and I’d definitely like this-love the parsely pesto.
Mmm, I haven’t had polenta in so long. This looks so good, thanks for the reminder!! :)
You are welcome! Thank you for stopping by today. I just took a look at your beautiful blog. :)
I just tried this last week and was surprised the amount of cheese, cream and butter that was needed to make the polenta tasty. Yours look so good!
It is true. What type of sauce did you use? I know polenta can be bland (of course as any grain) and it does require a bit to bring out the flavor. Not the kind of dish you’d make if you are watching your intake!
I didn’t specially make a sauce for it but top it up with my meatballs in tomato sauce.
Ooooo. Sounds delicious. Hope your enjoyed the polenta.
[…] When I was growing up hearty winter stews were often served over soft, creamy polenta. My mother would always cook a large pot of polenta and the real treat would be had next day. Cold, leftover polenta, set in the fridge overnight, sliced into wedges, quickly fried in a pan with a little butter and olive oil. Crisp on the outside. Deliciously creamy on the inside. The forerunner to the trendy polenta chip which is popping up everywhere on Sydney menus. I was reminded of this treat when I came across Cottage Grove House’s recipe post for Polenta Crowned with a Fresh Parsley Pesto and Cherry … […]
I love polenta in the winter. During the summer, I grill it! LOVE it! Yours looks beautiful, perfect for summer!
You really paid me a visit tonight! :) Thank you again! I want to grill or “fry” the leftovers next time. Check out this post…http://thepaddingtonfoodie.com/2013/07/03/one-dish-three-delicious-elements-polenta-chips-with-sauteed-swiss-brown-mushrooms-and-gorgonzola-cream-sauce/
[…] week when I was reading COTTAGE GROVE HOUSE‘s post on polenta, something I’ve never cooked with, as soon as I noticed their pesto […]
I absolutely love polenta. It’s one of the “true” Italian dishes :)
I feel the same way about polenta! I love it! Thank you for visiting today! :)
I adore the textures and flavors in this recipe. Pinned it – it’s a keeper. Great job! ! !
Beautiful! I just made polenta but not half as pretty as yours! The combination of colors and textures is truly lovely! Thank you!
I could eat polenta…or risotto every night! Absolutely love it. I’m sure your polenta was very pretty. :)
[…] polenta and never be intimated again. If you are interested in a lighter rustic polenta follow this cooking method. Otherwise, here is a recipe for an unforgettably creamy polenta. Be warned…it has lots […]