I’m always amazed at how my appetite for food seems to change right along with the seasons. Just like clockwork, the last lingering days of summer are almost gone, turning toward fall. You can sense a shift when the first step outside one morning carries a chill that wasn’t there the day before, and a sweater needs to be hung on a hook by the door instead of a beach bag.
I find myself craving less of the cooling salads and simple dinners off the grill and more substantial meals that I begin to think about cooking at 4 o’clock rather than the relaxed summer cooking schedule that sometimes doesn’t start until after 6.
Polenta is often what I think of making when that fall feeling hits. It’s great comfort food and because it would be kind of bland otherwise, I make polenta with generous amounts of butter and cheese. Roasted Mediterranean vegetables with a little balsamic vinegar temper the rich, creamy polenta and make this a satisfying meal to enjoy while autumn rolls in.
Balsamic Vegetable Polenta
1 each red, yellow and orange bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 small or 2 medium-sized zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup polenta or coarse cornmeal
½ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Combine the peppers, tomatoes, onion, olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt and pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until beginning to soften and turn brown, 15-20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, add the zucchini, garlic, thyme and balsamic vinegar. Return the pan to the oven and continue roasting 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini is bright green and slightly tender (not mushy).
Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Gradually pour the polenta into the water while whisking at the same time. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Lower the heat to a slow simmer and continue to cook the polenta about 20 minutes or until it thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the cheese and butter and add additional salt to taste if needed.
Serve the polenta in bowls with the roasted vegetables and their juices over the top; sprinkle with additional cheese if you like.
easy dinner, polenta, vegetarian, weeknight meal
Print This Post
You might also like