For a veggie-packed winter main, try this flavoursome polenta dish. It’s a quick dinner option to add to your weeknight menu.
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Quick and easy, flavourful and packed with nutritious veggies – this polenta recipe with rustic vegetables is the perfect midweek comfort meal to add to your dinnertime repertoire. Polenta as we know it today is made from the meal of corn, and is a Northern Italian staple commonly served as a side dish. It’s believed to have been introduced to the European continent by Christopher Columbus, though a similar dish made using the meal of other grains and legumes can be traced all the way back to Roman times. In this easy recipe, the creamy polenta is a delectable base to serve up roasted tomatoes and pan fried vegetables, with a sprinkle of tangy crumbled feta on top to balance the dish. Leftovers? Use any extra cooked polenta to make crispy fried polenta or baked polenta chips the next day.
Made using coarsely ground cornmeal, polenta is usually purchased as a dry ingredient and boiled in water or stock at a standard 1:4 ratio, though this can vary depending on the texture of cornmeal polenta. The key to success is slow and constant stirring until it reaches the desired consistency and transforms into the light and fluffy dish we love. Seasoning and flavouring shouldn’t be added until the end of the cooking process.
Once you have finished cooking the polenta, there are many different ways to serve. As in this recipe, it can be used as straight out of the saucepan as a beautiful base for vegetables, grilled meat or with substantial sauces and ragus. Leftover polenta can also be used to make baked polenta gnocchi or polenta chips.
There are a few secrets to achieving the most mouth-watering, creamy polenta texture. Firstly, make sure you double check the product you’ve purchased. There’s regular polenta that can take up to 50 minutes to cook depending on your quantity, and there is an ‘instant’ polenta that has been more processed for quicker cooking. Check the packaging for exact measurements of how much liquid you’ll need, and if says to use water only considering replacing some of the recommended amount with stock or broth.
It's important to bring the liquid to the boil before adding the polenta. Add the polenta in slowly and steadily, and once you have added it all, stir constantly for the smoothest end result. Once the polenta has finished cooking, turn off the heat and add seasoning to taste, with a knob of butter for an extra creamy dish. Stirring through a few pinches of a grated Italian hard cheese such as Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano before serving or setting can boost the flavour profile and enhance the texture.
A tasty, veggie-filled dinner is only 30 minutes away with this delicious meal – and don’t forget to save some cooked polenta to make some extra fried or baked snacks. Need some extra inspiration? This fried polenta with creamy pesto and roasted tomatoes is a sure-fire dinner party hit. If you prefer to turn up the spice, try this chilli pork with polenta dumplings or keep it creamy and get a little fancy by serving up this prosciutto-wrapped pork with polenta. If you need an excuse to get the slow cooker out, whip up this pork, fennel and sage ragu with polenta for a little indulgence.
Energy: 1526kJ/365 Cals (18%)
Protein: 12g (24%)
Fat: 17g (24%)
Sat fat: 6g (25%)
Carb: 35g (11%)
Sugar: 13g (14%)
Fibre: 10g (33%)
Sodium: 1239mg (65%)