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  • Sister Clare Josef-Maier

Hearth & Table - October 13, 2020

Our second week, it was time to get a little more... overtly seasonal. :)


If you've never had polenta before, now's a great time to get to know it! Polenta is a versatile corn-based base that can act like a hot porridge or firmed into more of a loaf to be baked, fried, or grilled. This time, we went more "porridge" style, blending some pumpkin puree in with the polenta, and topping it all with some delicious roasted veggies and a simple homemade tomato sauce.


And... It was GOOD. Here's the recipe if you want to make it again! (And pro-tip: If the water starts to separate from your polenta in the storage container, just mix it up heartily to get it back up to its former glory! Not as pretty afterward, but the texture should be just right.)


Pumpkin polenta w/ roasted veggies & easy tomato sauce

Serves 6


Ingredients:


Pumpkin Polenta:

6 C water

1 1⁄2 C coarse-ground cornmeal (a.k.a. polenta)

1 sm. can pumpkin puree

1 lemon, zest & juice

Salt & pepper to taste


Easy Tomato Sauce:

2 T olive oil

2 onions, small diced

1⁄2 head garlic, cloves peeled and sliced

1 T dried basil

1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

Salt & pepper to taste

1-2 lbs roasted vegetables, kept warm

*see “Roasted Vegetable Guide”, below*


Shredded Parmesan cheese & chopped fresh rosemary, to garnish (optional)


Method:

1. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Using a whisk, slowly stir in the polenta. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low. Using a wooden spoon, stir the polenta frequently (don’t let it stick to the bottom of the pot!) for about 15-20 minutes, or until the polenta is fairly tender. Mix in the pumpkin puree, lemon zest & lemon juice, and season to taste (salt & pepper). Cover and set aside.


2. In a large saucepan or small pot, melt the 2 T olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn the heat to medium and add the garlic and dried basil. Cook for 2-3 minutes more, then add the crushed tomatoes. Stir well, then season to taste.


3. Serve the polenta topped with the tomato sauce, roasted veggies, and parmesan cheese & fresh rosemary (if using).


Roasted Vegetable Guide – Oven usually at 400. Cut vegetables bite-sized or a little smaller. Try to get them as uniform in size as possible. Most vegetables can be prepped in advance, though onions and garlic should be fresh. Toss each separately with oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and put in a single layer on a sheet pan. Cook veggies separately and combine at the end. Season with an

interesting spice or spice blend and/or fresh herbs. Be sure to get some acidity in there as well... some lemon juice or a splash of vinegar. You can vary the seasoning with the same produce to get different dishes.


Cook for how long? Simple answer is to taste and check for doneness, but it helps to have a guide:


Potatoes: 35 min

Onions: 25 min

Zucchini: 15 min

Broccoli: 15 min

Cauliflower: 20 min

Turnips: 25 min

Asparagus: 7 min

Fennel bulb: 20 min


Mushrooms: 40 min

Tomatoes: 15 min

Kale/collard greens: 15 min

Cabbage: 25 min

Brussels sprouts: 25 min

Bell peppers: 12 min

Winter squash: 30 min


(Assume items are cut bite-sized or a little smaller, and oven is at 400 degrees. And oven door stays mostly closed.)

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sisterclare@welcometocentral.org

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