Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Herbed Polenta with Spinach, Cannellini Beans, & Caramelized Tomatoes

This is a great dinner for a cold night. First, preheat your oven t0 415 degrees. 

Toss 12 campari tomatoes in olive oil and arrange them in an oven-safe dish. Then drizzle one head of garlic with olive oil, wrap it in foil, and place it in the same dish. Place the dish in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the tomato skins have started to darken.

For the polenta you will need:

1 cup yellow corn grits (aka polenta)
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups of vegetable stock (I like not-chicken)
1 palmful Italian seasoning (Penzey's makes a good one)
1 cup shredded provolone
2 eggs
olive oil

Warm the stock in a pot on the stove. In another pot, melt the butter, and then add the seasoning and the polenta. Add the stock in thirds, stirring occasionally to ensure no lumps form. Cook mixture for about 30 minutes, and then add the cheese. Temper in the eggs, and then pour mixture into an oiled, medium-sized baking dish. Bake in the 415 degree oven for 20 minutes or until firm. Remove dish and allow to cool in the fridge until firm to the touch.

For the Beans:

1 can of cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
1 head of roasted garlic
olive oil
s & p to taste

Over medium-high heat saute' the beans in olive oil until the skins just start to turn darker, and then add the garlic from the head you roasted earlier. The easiest way to extract the garlic is to cut the rounded end, and then squeeze the garlic out like tooth paste. Add salt & pepper to taste.

While your pan is still hot, pan fry a square of polenta for each serving in a little bit of butter. Remove the polenta and add a handful of chopped spinach and some olive oil. Cook a few seconds until wilted. 

Now you are finally ready to eat. Top the polenta with the spinach, garlic beans, and the roasted tomatoes. Finish the dish with some parmesan, chopped basil, and a drizzle of your best balsamic vinegar. We served it with a wonderful bottle of wine given to us by Michael. It was a 2004 estate grown Z Cuvee'. It was peppery and fruity and delicious. (Michael is amazing.)


Chris said...

Your polenta looks flawless! I have been meaning to use up the rest of my very very old polenta and you've just given me the perfect excuse - I can't wait... :)

Bianca said...

I have made polenta in far too long. I always wonder what I would serve it with. This looks perfect.

Anonymous said...

I am so making this tomorrow night!! I have polenta in the fridge--I got the tube kind :)-but it needs to be used! Thanks for the inspiration. I love reading your blog and looking at the gorgeous pictures,

the Ambulance Driver said...

Looking forward to following your blog and get some great recipes! Check out my blog if you have the time, some of my pictures are on it!
Jeff (A's big brother!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I made a version of it over here on Veggin'. The combination of the beans, spinach and roasted tomatoes was delicious.