22 July 2014

Creamy Polenta with Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

We're getting really beautiful broccoli from the garden right now! The other day, we picked a head that was as large as a bridal bouquet ... so lovely with nice tight florets and brilliant green stems with that lovely velvety look. Golly, I love the summertime produce!

Even the broccoli plant is pretty to look at ... love that shade of blue green ! Later in the summer there will be side shoots of broccoli spears that will develop ... so we patiently leave the plant in place and keep after the cabbage butterflies when they show up to lay their eggs.

It's not quite fresh corn season yet, here in New Hampshire, but this polenta was a cozy and wonderfully cheesy way to enjoy a hint of what's to come with the 'comin' on' vegetables and herbs that came out of the garden last evening! I  make this a super creamy dish. I also like to add fresh chives to the polenta with smoked Gouda cheese (rather than Parmesan) to make things really smooth and luscious.

The only thing I would change in prepping this incredible bowl of YUM is that I would add just a small plop of butter to the toasted pine nuts just before they have come from the toasting pan to give them a nice browned butter glisten. Otherwise, this dish is perfect for my palate. I found the recipe in the annual Cook's Illustrated Best Ever magazine and made it with very few changes. Try this ... I really think you'll like it!

Totally GF, full of vegetables and herbs, wonderful cheesy consistency ... YUM!

Creamy Polenta

Serves 2 with leftover polenta for another knosh (breakfast, anyone?)


3 ¾ c. water
½ tsp. Kosher salt
⅛ tsp. baking soda
¾ c. coarse grind corn meal (polenta)
2 tbsp. chopped chives
½ - ¾ c. grated smoked Gouda
1 pat butter
¼ - ⅓ milk or heavy cream (I like heavy cream)

Making the Polenta:

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a deep sauce pot.
  2. When the water boils, add the salt and baking soda.
  3. Pour the polenta into the boiling water, stirring as your pour it so that it doesn’t ‘lump up’.
  4. Let the polenta come to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Lower the heat to a very low simmer, place a burner guard below the pot and barely simmer the polenta for about 20 minutes. Stir the pot once or twice during this time. Keep the pot covered.
  6. Taste the polenta to get to your desired consistency, then add most of the cheese, the chives, stirring to combine and melt the cheese.
  7. Just before serving, stir in the butter and cream.
  8. Sprinkle the servings with the last of the cheese and whatever topping you’ve prepared for the polenta.

Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomatoes Polenta Topper

Serves 2


10 oz. broccoli florets with stems, chopped into bite-sized chunks
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c. sundried tomatoes (packed in oil), chopped
A generous sprinkle of red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
¼ c. chicken broth
½ c. pine nuts , dry toasted and finished with a small pat of butter

Making the Dish:

  1. Heat a large fry pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan.
  3. Add the garlic and stir about. When the garlic begins to get golden, add the sun—dried tomatoes, the red pepper flakes and a grinding of black pepper. Stir until the garlic smells roasted.
  4. Add the broccoli chunks and the chicken broth. Lower the heat a bit, cover the pan, and watch it, as the broccoli cooks quickly.
  5. When the broccoli is bright green and tender-crisp, correct the salt and pepper seasoning, toss the vegetables onto servings of creamy polenta, add a sprinkle of smoked Gouda cheese, and top with the pepped pine nuts.

Note: This vegetable prep would be really nice over grilled chicken or as a base for pan-seared scallops. Just sayin’ …


  1. What an awesome combination of flavors and textures. It looks delicious!

  2. Wow. This is just gorgeous. All those wonderful veggies you're growing. Such satisfaction in that isn't there? The whole dish looks wonderful but I am such a huge fan of that creamy polenta!

  3. Oh this sounds divine! What a wonderful combo of ingredients!


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