Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Spinach Pesto Polenta

Here is my version of this Savory Polenta recipe by Alton Brown.  By adding pesto and a little spinach, you can incorporate some beautiful color, great taste, and a few important nutrients.  The best way I can describe polenta is cornmeal risotto.  Like risotto, it requires lots of stirring to make this grain into a beautiful creamy dish.  Here's how Mama makes it:

Spinach Pesto Polenta

- 2 T. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 c. chicken or vegetable stock
- 1.5 c. coarse ground cornmeal
- 5 T. unsalted butter
- 1/3 c. basil pesto
- 3 t. kosher salt
- 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
- 3 oz. parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 c. chopped spinach

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large oven-safe saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.

2.  Turn the heat up to high, add the chicken stock, bring to boil.  Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking.  When all the cornmeal has been added, cover the pot and place it in the oven (since I was nervous to put my glass lids in the oven, I covered tightly with foil).

Peanut here, reminding you to keeeeeep stirring!

3.  Cook for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent lumps.  Once the mixture is creamy, remove from oven, add the butter, pesto, salt, and pepper.

4.  Once incorporated, gradually stir in the parmesan, then the spinach, stirring until it wilts slightly.

5.  Serve as is or pour the polenta into a 9x13-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper. (I served about 1/3 immediately and poured the rest into a large loaf pan).

pour some in the pan to cool...

and serve the rest!

goes great with this coffee steak rub

6.  Refrigerate to cool completely, then turn out onto a cutting board and cut into squares.  Brush each side with olive oil and sauté in a skillet over medium heat, or grill. (sorry, I didn't snap a picture of this part!)

printable recipe

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