Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Herbed Polenta with a Tomato Ragout

A few weeks ago I bought a package of stone ground cornmeal to make homemade polenta. Tonight I finally took on the challenge.

I found inspiration from this recipe for polenta and this idea for baking polenta. I read through them, combined a few ideas, thought about the ingredients I had on hand, and came up with this Herbed Polenta with a Tomato Ragout -


  • 3 cups chicken broth (you could use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 leaves of sage, minced
  • 1 small sprig of thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese; I used a mix of white cheddar and asiago
  • Ragout: 1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used 1 package of grape tomatoes), 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, pinch of salt


  • Combine broth, herbs, garlic, and salt; bring to a boil
  • Slowly whisk in the cornmeal, just a bit at a time.
  • Lower heat to medium-low and continue to whisk until the polenta becomes thick and creamy and starts to pull away from the edges of the pan. This took about 18 minutes.

  • In the meantime, heat olive oil in a pan. Add the ingredients for the ragout and cook over medium heat for 7 minutes. Set aside.

  • Once the polenta is just about done, whisk in the cheese until creamy.
  • Spoon half of the polenta into a baking dish. Top with the ragout and then spoon in the rest of the polenta. Top with just a bit of shredded cheese.
  • Bake on 400 for 30-40 minutes - covered for the first half, uncovered for the rest - until golden brown.

I wish my blog had a "scratch-n-sniff" capability because it smells sooo good in here right now! Here is the finished product.
It was sooo yummy - one of the best things I have tasted in a while. My one wish is that it was a little firmer; I think I can achieve that next time by letting it cool in a pan to set for a bit before baking it. I served the polenta with a side of sauteed spinach - fresh baby spinach sauteed in olive oil and sprinkled with some Kosher salt.

One word of advice - warm up your arms and be ready to get a workout from the constant whisking! I had just done an upper body workout so my arms were exhausted by the time I was done cooking. It was well worth it though and I'd do it again.

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  1. oh wow. this looks absolutely incredible Mary Ellen! i will definitely be making this soon. wow.

  2. You make me want to try polenta!

  3. i've been wanting to try polenta, this recipe looks so good!