Recipe by carolinajen4
This is my ultimate comfort food. Tomato, basil, cheese and polenta with garlic and onions....I'm the only one in my family who likes polenta so I don't make it very often because I'd eat the whole thing in 2 days. I first made this 2 weeks before my due date with our last child when my friend was coming to visit. She now makes it as well. She uses 2 tubes of the already made polenta (tomato and basil flavor) and just layers the cheese in between for a faster meal. Adapted from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin. She is one of my ultimate favorite cookbook authors. Approximate cooking times.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and crushed in hands
- fresh ground pepper, generous amount
- 1⁄2 cup fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits
- 2 1⁄2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1⁄2 cups cornmeal
- 2 cups cold water
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
- 1⁄2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Directions See How It's Made
- For filling, heat oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, season with pepper, and cook until the juices thicken and are almost evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in the basil, and remove from heat.
- For polenta, preheat the oven to 400 degrees (if making right away). Grease a 2-to 2 1/2 quart shallow baking dish.
- Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Place the cornmeal in a large bowl and whisk in the cold water. (For lump-free polenta) Continue to whisk while pouring it into the boiling broth. Bring to a boil, whisking almost constantly. Once the polenta begins to boil, reduce heat to medium. Whisk polenta continuously until it begins to tear away from the sides of the pan, about 5 minutes. Whisk in salt, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese.
- Immediately pour half of polenta into baking dish. Quickly spread on the tomato mixture. Crumble the feta evenly over the tomato mixture. Immediately spoon on the remaining polenta, covering entire surface. Sprinkle the top with 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese. Dot with butter bits.
- Let the polenta rest at least 15 minutes, or up to 24 hours. If longer than one hour, cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before baking. Bake 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and golden on top. Let polenta sit 10 minutes or so before serving.