If I tell you that I have never had polenta previously, would you start looking at me as that foodie nerd who does not know how to appreciate good food OR would you welcome me to our polenta loving club with open arms plus a few complimentary packets of polenta as a welcome gift?
Go with number two pleaseeeee? I really want to hang out with all of you cool polenta-loving-people. ♥
Polenta, polenta, where have you been for all 20 years of my lifetime? Ok wait, I am not 20 but that is not the point here because it is all about this bowl of deliciousness. ↓
Polenta is made with cornmeal and it is basically cooked by boiling in water or any other liquid. Polenta can be served fried, grilled or creamy, once it is still warm. If you are into gluten free diet, polenta is a delightful add-on to your meals. People say, there are a lot of rules you need to follow to make polenta, like using a wooden spoon or stirring in only one direction and that too like crazy. I would say, forget all those rules. I am not breaking those unwritten rules here, I am merely testing their elasticity. *winks*
For those of you who have never cooked polenta, fret not as there is always a first for everything in life and cooking polenta does not involve any rocket science whatsoever. Cooking polenta is really simple and all it takes is frequent stirring. When I said frequent stirring, it does not imply that you have to park yourself in front of your stove till you develop leg and arm muscle spasms. No major elbow grease people, it’s just a bit of stirring every couple of minutes.
You can opt to cook your polenta in either water, stock or milk. I used a mixture of water and stock as I was looking for something lighter so that I can sprinkle a whole lot of parmesan to it. Polenta can be served with anything, from braised meats or grilled fish. Mine was served with grilled vegetables.
If there is one food that I can eat every day, it has to be grilled vegetables. I am CRAZY about grilled vegetables. I would literally mix up all varieties of vegetables, season them and bake for around 60-70 minutes. About an hour later, all the vegetables would be soft and delicious. The potatoes and eggplant taste like candy. I love how the cherry tomatoes would lose most of its moisture and all you get is a robust concentrated flavor of these tiny morsels. Grilled vegetables are too delicious especially when the vegetables get infused with the flavors of the herbs, garlic and olive oil. Just incredible really.
The Polenta + the grilled vegetables were really a perfect combo. This dish was comforting and honestly it feels good to go vegetarian once a while. It is important to serve the polenta while it is still hot as it would harden once it is cold (not that it would taste bad). You can grill your vegetables in advance and cook the polenta about 20 minutes before you want to serve dinner. This way, the polenta would be still soft and scoop-able.
This Grilled Vegetables with Parmesan Polenta speaks of my love of all things comforting. I think next time I am going to serve this creamy polenta with garlic butter mushrooms and a side of grilled chicken. Sounds really yummy and that just made my heart smile.
- 1 pepper
- 1 onion
- ¼ butternut squash/pumpkin
- A small bunch of asparagus - trimmed
- 1 eggplant
- 6 baby corns
- 12 cherry tomatoes - cut into halves
- 4 cloves garlic - cut into quarters
- ¼ tsp dried mixed herbs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- Salt and black pepper to season
- 4 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup polenta
- ½ cup parmesan
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 clove
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Cut all the vegetables into bite-sized chunks
- Place the vegetables in a bowl and add all the other ingredients.
- Toss well to coat and pour these into a baking tray
- Roast your vegetables in the hot oven for around 50-60 minutes, or until soft and golden.
- Once the vegetable is almost done, you can get started on the polenta.
- In a pan, melt butter or add olive oil.
- Saute garlic for 1 minute.
- Pour water and stock and once it reaches a soft boil, add the polenta and whisk until smooth.
- Cook for about 15 minutes or so until the polenta has thickened.
- Add parmesan, garlic powder and seasoning.
- Serve immediately with the grilled vegetables.