Polenta con Pomodori

Polenta with Tomatoes

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This is a relatively modern way of preparing polenta and is a recipe from Friuli-Venezia Giulia. In this region, white polenta is preferred to the yellow variety, as it is considered to have a much more delicate flavour, best suited to the local dishes. Although tomatoes and olive oil are not a major part of the cuisine of this area, they all work well together in this dish. It makes a very tasty lunch or supper, to which other ingredients, such as sliced salami, could be added.

Ingredients

  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 750 ml/ pints/3 cups boiling water
  • 200 g/7 oz/ cups medium-grade white polenta flour
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig, leaves chopped
  • 1 fresh marjoram sprig, leaves chopped
  • 50 g/2 oz freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • vegetable oil, for greasing

Method

  1. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and lay them in a colander to drain for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and cover a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Drain the tomatoes and spread them out cut-side up on the prepared baking parchment, then sprinkle with ground pepper. Bake in the hot oven for 4 minutes.

  3. Put the water into a wide, heavy pan over a high heat and return to the boil. Add a good pinch of salt, then trickle the polenta flour into the boiling water in a fine rain with one hand, while whisking constantly with the other.

  4. When all the polenta flour has been whisked into the water, reduce the heat to medium-low and stir with a strong, long-handled wooden spoon until the polenta comes away from the sides of the pan. This will take 40-50 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in 30 ml/2 tbsp olive oil and a good grinding of pepper. Spread it evenly into a greased 20 x 30 cm/8 x 12 in ovenproof dish.

  6. Arrange the tomato slices on top and sprinkle with the chopped herbs, the Pecorino cheese and the remaining olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and browned. Serve.

Variation

You can swap the tomatoes for roasted red bell pepper, or other roasted summer vegetables of your choice, such as aubergine/eggplant, courgette/zucchini or, in the winter when fresh vegetables are not at their best, bottled roasted bell peppers.