This recipe is one we developed as a cozy, romantic meal for our Valentine’s Day menu, but it truly works for any day, special or everyday. When we first started cooking, polenta seemed like such a glamorous food – though we didn’t even know what it was! Turns out it’s simply cornmeal, boiled and thickened into somewhat of a porridge. It’s Italian peasant food that tastes surprisingly savory, comforting and homey, while still maintaining an air of elegance.
We’ve combined this polenta with tomatoes roasted with rosemary, a dish we’ve been eating on and off all winter. We’d been preparing the tomatoes using an approximate method, and have finally gotten around to writing it down to share with you. We prefer the dish topped with a fried egg, which makes it even creamier and a bit more filling, but it’s also delicious without (as we’ve shown in the photograph).
This has been one of our favorites lately, as we wait out the long winter. What are some of your favorite comforting, homey dishes?
- 2 28-ounce cans fire roasted whole tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1½ cups cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¾ cup milk
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 4 eggs
- Preheat an oven to 400F.
- Peel the garlic cloves and roughly slice them. Thoroughly drain the tomatoes, and slice them in half. In a bowl, toss the garlic and tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Roughly tear 4 sprigs of rosemary into a few large pieces, and mix them in.
- Pour the tomatoes into a baking dish and roast for 45 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Meanwhile, make the polenta: Bring 6 cups water to boil in a medium sauce pan. When the water boils, whisk in the 1½ cups corn meal in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Continue whisking until the polenta begins to thicken (around 1 to 2 minutes). Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
- Reduce the heat so that the polenta bubbles slowly. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until the cornmeal loses its raw flavor (taste every so often to check). Then turn off the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon butter, ¾ cup milk, a few pinches kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. (Cover to keep it warm before serving. If the polenta becomes too thick, stir in a bit more milk or water to loosen it up.)
- While the polenta cooks, fry the eggs in a skillet.
- To serve, place polenta in a bowl, then top with roasted tomatoes and a fried egg. Remove the rosemary pieces from the tomatoes prior to serving.