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Recipe

Creamy Polenta with Fresh Corn, Sautéed Market Vegetables & Smoked Tomato Sauce

Ben Fink

Servings: four to six.

I like the combination of “New World” vegetables—corn, beans, squash, and tomatoes—in this summer recipe, but feel free to choose any good-looking vegetables at the market to top the polenta; you can grill rather than sauté them if you like. I like to make a fairly loose polenta, and I add the fresh corn kernels for contrast.

Ingredients

For the polenta:

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 5 cups rich or homemade low-salt vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup coarsely ground polenta
  • 1-1/4 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears), cobs scraped to get the milk, husks reserved

For the sautéed vegetables:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil; more as needed
  • 6 oz. haricots verts, trimmed (or young green beans, trimmed and cut diagonally 1-inch long)
  • 6 to 8 oz. baby pattypan squash, cut in half (or 2 young summer squash or zucchini, cut in rounds)
  • 1 large or 2 small red or yellow bell peppers (or both) cut into triangle or diamond shapes
  • Sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

  • 1 recipe Smoked Tomato Sauce  
  • Zucchini blossoms, currant tomatoes, or chopped chives, for garnish

Nutritional Information

      Calories (kcal) : 290
      Fat Calories (kcal): 120
      Fat (g): 14
      Saturated Fat (g): 6
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6
      Cholesterol (mg): 20
      Sodium (mg): 430
      Carbohydrates (g): 38
      Fiber (g): 6
      Protein (g): 8

Preparation

Make the polenta:

  • In a deep saucepan, combine the butter and onion and stir over moderate heat until the onions are softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Gradually stir in the polenta and continue stirring for a couple of minutes to prevent any lumps. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer, cover the pan, and cook undisturbed for another 6 to 7 min. Uncover and stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and repeat two more times, until the polenta is soft and somewhat thickened. Stir in the corn and any corn liquid and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add a bit of water if necessary to maintain a creamy but thick consistency.

Sauté the vegetables:

  • While the polenta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. In batches, sauté the beans, squash, and peppers until crisp-tender, adding more oil as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper, set aside, and keep warm.

To serve:

  • Spoon the warm polenta into the center of individual bowls or one large serving bowl. Arrange the sautéed vegetables over and around the polenta. Spoon some of the smoked tomato sauce around the edge of the polenta. Garnish as desired with herbs and blossoms.

Reviews

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Reviews

  • susanlinda | 08/26/2013

    Wonderful recipe. Easy to make. The polenta consistency is perfect. I changed the smoked tomato sauce for roasted tomatoes and added chanterelle mushrooms instead of some of the other veggies. The truth is that any veggie will go with this. It was a hit!

  • fortkcook | 09/17/2012

    Simple, versatile, pretty to look at, and really delicious -- a great meatless option during peak summer produce season. The smoky tomato sauce is tasty and an excellent way to use up an overabundance of tomatoes, but I've also had success just tossing in some cherry tomatoes with the stir fry. Another version of the recipe in my John Ash cookbook calls for a poached egg.

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