Cooking

Easy Baked Polenta

I’m sort of a polenta virgin.  I’ve heard about it here and there but I don’t really know much about it to be honest.  I’ve had it maybe once in my life.  But I’ve always been interested in making it at home.  So when I came across a recipe for easy baked polenta on All Recipes not too long ago, I decided to give it a shot. 

But first, what is polenta anyway?  To put it simply, polenta is a dish made from boiled cornmeal.  From there you can apply hundreds of different variations.  Polenta is a staple dish of northern Italy.

For my first go at homemade polenta, I started with the recipe I found on All Recipes and made a couple changes to arrive at the recipe below.

Easy Baked Polenta with Tomato Sauce
Serves 4-6

2 cups milk, any kind (I used soy)
2 cups water
2 tsp veggie bouillon
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tbsp nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese (see note at bottom)
2 cups spicy marinara sauce, any kind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch square baking dish.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add bouillon and stir until dissolved. Add milk and put pot back on heat. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When it is at a rolling boil, gradually whisk in cornmeal a little at a time. Whisk constantly to get the lumps out. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese.

Pour polenta into prepared baking dish and smooth out the top. Pour marinara sauce over the top.

Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven or until sauce is bubbly.

Here it is all done.  I wanted to take pictures during the stove top cooking process but I was too busy with all the whisking to grab my camera. 

For the sauce I used an Italian vegetable sauce that I made last summer using tomatoes from my garden and then froze.

I served the polenta with a spinach and white bean side dish.

Benzo and I both loved it!  It was creamy the night we had it for dinner (right after I cooked it).  The next day for lunch it was more solid and was an actual slice of polenta.  The leftovers were excellent.

Note: What is nutrional yeast?  Nutrional yeast is an inactive yeast that is sold in powder or flake form.  It’s been described as having a nutty or cheesy flavor (though it’s not made from cheese).  Some brands are fortified with vitamin B12.  I’ve bought mine in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods.  Click here for the wikipedia information on nutrional yeast.

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