When a big question mark of what’s for dinner hangs over my head, I usually turn to upma, pasta or polenta. Polenta is very easy to make and can be paired with vegetables in a variety of different ways. I like to have polenta by itself, with some herbs and parmesan cheese.
Cornmeal, which is ground dried corn, is boiled in salted water, resulting in creamy and delicious polenta.
I usually serve polenta with roasted vegetables. Those odd vegetables lying in your crisper can be put to good use in this recipe. The roasted vegetable medley itself can be served as a warm salad too.
My favourite ingredient in this recipe is roasted garlic. Though I have given the recipe to prepare them beforehand, you can roast the garlic packets in the same pan where the vegetables are cooking. I always prepare extra bulb of roasted garlic and use them in other recipes. They stay good refrigerated for 2 weeks.
Corn meal – 1 cup
Water – 4 cups
Butter – 1 tbsp
Salt – as needed
Fingerling potatoes or baby potatoes
Dried thyme – 1 tbsp
Dried rosemary – 1 tsp
Halve a whole garlic bulb horizontally. Place each half in two pieces of aluminum foil, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic halves and roast in a 475F oven for 20 minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, squeeze the bulb and collect the roasted cloves of garlic. Use as needed in the recipe.
Heat water to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add salt to the water. Slowly pour the cornmeal to the boiling water while swiftly whisking with the other hand to avoid lumps. Keep stirring for another 10 minutes until the cornmeal is cooked and comes together. Take off from heat, add butter and mix thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 450F. Halve or quarter the potatoes depending on the size. Snip the ends off french beans. Quarter the tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes can be used whole.
In a large bowl, toss the potatoes and beans with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the beans is beginning to crisp.
In the same bowl, toss tomatoes in the remaining olive oil with thyme and rosemary. Add to the potatoes and beans, shake the baking sheet to rotate the vegetables, and roast for 5 more minutes, until the tomatoes soften. Add roasted garlic cloves to the vegetables. Adjust seasoning, if needed.
Serve vegetables with polenta, with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, if needed.