I usually stick to grilling or toasting the pre-made roll-o-polenta, but after a week of unexciting regular go-to’s, I decided to branch out and experiment. Success! Not only is basic polenta delicious and cheap, it’s super easy to make and goes with just about anything you’d pair pasta with. It’s hearty and luscious, and a great way to showcase your favourite vegetables … plus it suits gluten-free diets perfectly! I had a head of broccoli that needed some love, and one brand new hunk of tasty parmesan that was just begging to be grated … and voila!
For the polenta
4 cups vegetable stock (although you can use water too)
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 cups cornmeal
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits
For the vegetables
2 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 large bunch broccoli, chopped into tiny florets (5-6 cups total)
1/3 cup water
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (you can use canned if you forgot to buy fresh)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring vegetable stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, then turn down to a simmer.
2. Add cornmeal to stock in a slow stream, whisking, and continuing to whisk after it is all added for about 5 minutes.
Note – Allow to polenta to cook gently while the vegetables are prepared.
3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat, and once oil is hot, add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until garlic is fragrant (about 1 minute).
4. Add broccoli, toss with oil, then add the water and cover to steam until tender.
5. Uncover broccoli once tender, then add tomatoes, and cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes more) – season to taste.
6. Season the polenta to taste, mix in parmesan cheese and butter, then pour onto plates and top with cooked vegetables (serve with a sprinkling parmesan cheese).