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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Polenta with Peppers & Tomatoes

I have recently fallen in love with polenta.  I learned Italian cooking very well back when I was a teen & first learning to cook.  I was a vegetarian back then & following Marcella Hazan's cookbooks.  They are not vegetarian books, but I learned quickly on my own how to adapt most recipes to make them vegetarian.  I don't remember if I tried polenta back then or not (I know there were recipes for it in those books), but if I did somehow I wasn't too impressed I guess because I haven't made it again up until now.  This recipe is pretty simple & is really quite good & substantial.

Polenta with Peppers & Tomatoes

3 cups water
1 cup polenta flour (coarse ground yellow corn meal)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large bell peppers, chopped or sliced (I like to use 2 different colors)
1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar

*lightly oil a 9-10" pie plate & set aside
*bring water to boil for polenta, SLOWLY add in polenta flour (to prevent clumping) stirring CONSTANTLY
*reduce heat, add in 1 T EVOO, 1/3 of the chopped garlic, & salt
*cover & cook, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes
*remove from heat & let stand for 5 minutes
*pour into pie plate, pressing it in & smoothing the top out
*let stand 20 minutes to firm up

*heat EVOO & add onion & cook, until softened
*add bell peppers & remaining garlic; cook 5-8 minutes
*add tomatoes, oregano, s & p; bring to a boil & simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
*add vinegar & sugar, cook another 5 minutes or so, until thickened slightly
*spoon pepper/tomato mixture over the polenta, cut into wedges, like a pie, & serve

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