janet @ the taste space

Creamy Polenta with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis (What I Eat When I Eat Alone, Part 4)

In Mains (Vegetarian) on May 24, 2010 at 12:00 PM

“Here is what you need to know. As with any other solo pursuit, eating alone requires a carefully balanced combination of commitment, enthusiasm and self-adoration. It should, after all, be a meal with someone you love. Hell, if you go out for dinner by yourself and discover you don’t like the company, you really are in trouble. So you need to be in a good mood. I regard myself as a gregarious man. I like people and their chatter but sometimes the conversation I really want is the one with myself – we never disagree, me and I – and that happens best over food.”

– Jay Rayner, Restaurant Critic

In my journey of sharing some delicious meals for one (but still complete with leftovers), I finally tackled polenta after seeing it pop up in Madison’s What We Eat When We Eat Alone.  Polenta was been on my ‘to-try’ for while due to its high marks in both thriftiness and wholesomeness.  While perusing the The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook (with the recipe also posted here by the Mayo Clinic), the creamy polenta with roasted red pepper coulis beckoned.

While a bit time intensive, it was absolutely delicious.  The long cooking time allowed for a very creamy, smooth polenta without the need for added cream or cream cheese. I was initially perplexed how the polenta would still be creamy despite a 15 minute baking time, but it allowed it to keep its shape while still being creamy- perfect for serving.  It firmed up a bit as leftovers but was still really good. There was a bit of cheese in the polenta, which I thought was more than enough to infuse a subtle tang of Asiago and the red pepper coulis, with the garlic, made sure this wasn’t a bland cornmeal dish.

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once (who also currently runs the show!).

Creamy Polenta with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

1 red bell pepper, roasted and seeded
1-3 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 2)
1 3/4 cups water
1 3/4 cups plain soy milk or 1 percent low-fat milk
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta (coarse corn meal), preferably stone-ground
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (I used Asiago)
1 tablespoon chopped thyme (I skipped this)

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the roasted pepper, garlic and 1 tablespoon of the water. Process until smooth; set the coulis aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Lightly coat a 9-inch round cake pan with olive oil cooking spray.

3. In a large saucepan, combine the soy milk, remaining water, olive oil and salt. Whisk in the polenta and place over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the polenta begins to thicken (this can take around 20 minutes depending whether or not you use instant polenta). Reduce the heat to low and resume stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 15 minutes.

4. Add the coulis and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until firm, about 15 minutes. Let stand in the pan for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into 6 wedges and sprinkle with the thyme.

Serves 6.

  1. We love polenta. In Turin, there’s a restaurant called “Santa Polenta”, and every day they serve two or three variations of polenta. It’s always packed.

    When I saw this photo, I wondered how you kept it from being either runny or solid (the two known states of polenta at my house). I love this idea–I’m bookmarking this one! Thanks for posting it.

  2. I love your what I eat when I eat alone feature. Specifically because I spend almost all of my time doing just that. Cooking for one is rough! At least I love leftovers.

    This polenta looks delicious. Polenta is one of my favorite ways to “treat” myself! Some girls get manicures. I eat polenta haha. That coulis looks delicious!

  3. The polenta does look wonderfully creamy, makes me hungry just looking at it!

  4. Roasted red pepper would be so good in polenta!

  5. This is making me crave polenta, thanks for the recipe!

  6. This looks so creamy and delicious.

  7. […] see, I have made polenta before – a creamy, smooth, polenta with a roasted red pepper coulis – and it was delicious. However, it took me (well, technically, my brother who was over that […]

  8. As delicious as this looks, it’s also really neat to see how much your photography has improved in the last 7 months or so. I came here from the most recent polenta post, I’m going to combine this and the most recent lentil recipe tonight (I can’t say no to milk or cheese!).

    • Thanks Rose. Sometimes I just want to eat my dish instead of photographing it, so it is a struggle for a reasonable photo. This polenta photo was so blurry but the recipe was really good, so I still wanted to share it. My family were over, so I was a bit shy (at that time) to photograph it better). Now I don’t take nearly as many photos as I used to.

      This polenta with the thyme lentils sounds like a smashing success, too!! Let me know how it turns out. 🙂

  9. […] and Patrick McFarlin. I was so fascinated by their stories that I wrote my own series about eating for 1. At the time, I had been living by myself for over 6 years (plus another 4 years I lived with […]

  10. […] away and then waited for quinoa. I was worried I would have to tend to the grits continuous, like polenta, so I chickened out in the […]

  11. […] comfort foods, how about baked grits? Or creamy cheezy baked polenta?  I am no stranger to the elaborate, creamy, stovetop polenta but sometimes, you want to eat something a little less laborious with all the […]

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