As promised, our January Tasty Tuesday recipes will focus on quick and easy lunch or dinner treats guaranteed to warm the soul. Polenta is one of our favorite staples, since it’s nutrient dense compared to rice or pasta, inexpensive, quick and easy to prepare, and popular in Italy and many European countries.
Following a Sunday afternoon movie, my neighbor invited a couple of friends back to his home for an impromptu dinner pulled together from whatever was in his kitchen.
We loved the challenge and voted to try this recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook titled It’s All Easy for super-busy home cooks. We started with a lovely mixed greens salad, a beautiful chardonnay, and finished dinner with a bowl of frozen peaches purchased in late summer at the Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s annual Western Slope peaches fundraiser. Again, proving that sharing dinner with friends is easy and does not always require lots of planning or expense.
Polenta is a great base for grilled meat, but it’s also filling enough for most folks when served with vegetables and a bit of cheese.
Cherry Tomato ingredients for four servings
4 pints cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, very finely grated or minced
6 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Polenta ingredients for four servings
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup instant polenta
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces burrata or mozzarella cheese, for serving
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange the cherry tomatoes in an even layer on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, or until burnished and starting to pop. Remove from oven, and toss with the garlic and basil.
Meanwhile, make the polenta. Bring three cups of water and the salt and pepper to boil in a medium saucepan. Add the polenta, and cook according to the package instructions. Add the Parmesan and butter and transfer to a serving platter or bowl. Top with the roasted tomatoes and torn burrata cheese.
Polenta nutritional value
A small serving of gluten-free cornmeal polenta includes about 85 calories, 2 grams of protein, and small amounts of vitamins A, B complex, C and E, and minerals, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc.
Ellen Troyer with David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff