As you know if you have ever done it, making polenta the traditional way, which involves near-constant stirring on the stovetop for a half an hour, is a real pain. So I was very excited last year when I first heard about making polenta in the oven - this is a good general recipe that I have used as a guide. While this technique is often called "no-stir," that is really a misnomer, since you do stir it a few times, but it is much less labor intensive. I have made it just plain, and served it with a sauce on top or as a side dish, but I also like stirring in other stuff to make it more interesting. Earlier this summer we had a bunch of uncooked veggie skewers left over from a party with zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and onions, so I roasted them in the toaster and then later stirred them into the polenta, which was delicious. This rendition was inspired by the slow roasted tomato bruschetta in the Gourmet cookbook, but really you could stir in any roasted veggies and it would be yummy. Another good fall/winter option is to add sauteed mushrooms and kale.
Easy Roasted Tomato Polenta
- 2 lbs assorted tomatoes, coarsely chopped (halved or quartered depending on size)
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- Olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups dried polenta/coarse cornmeal
- 5 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
For polenta, add dried polenta, water, salt, and about a tablespoon of oil to a large baking pan. Stir to ensure that there are no dry lumps in the polenta - the polenta will settle at the bottom. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, at which point the polenta will be mostly cooked but there will be wetter and drier spots. Take out of the oven, add the roasted tomatoes and stir to combine and to fully mix the polenta. Bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes and serve.