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Cheesy Polenta with Tomato & Basil Sauce

Recipe By : Good Housekeeping June 97  
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time 1:00  
Categories : Cheese   Italian
  Main Courses   Prepare Ahead
  Pulses And Grains   Sauces And Stocks
  Vegetarian   New
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

1 tbsp vegetable oil - plus extra greasing
  salt and freshly ground black pepper
225 g polenta    
4 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, eg oregano, chives
  and flat-leafed parsley  
100 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves    
500 g carton creamed tomatoes or passata
1 bay leaf    
sprig fresh thyme
caster sugar
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil -- plus extra garnish
  fresh Parmesan shavings - to serve

1. Lightly oil a 26x16.5cm (10x6 ½ in) dish. In a large pan, bring 1.1 litres/ 2 pints water to the boil. Sprinkle in the polenta, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.

2. Stir in the herbs and Parmesan and season to taste. Turn into the prepared dish and leave to cool.

3. Next, make the Tomato & Basil sauce. Crush the garlic, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and fry garlic for 30 secs (do not brown). Add creamed tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme and a large pinch of sugar. Season with salt and pepper, bring to boil and simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig and add chopped basil.

4. To serve, cut the polenta into pieces and lightly brush with oil. Preheat a griddle pan and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side or grill under a preheated grill for 7-8 minutes on each side. Serve with Tomato & Basil sauce, fresh Parmesan shavings and chopped basil leaves.

To prepare ahead: Complete to the end of step 3. Cover and chill
separately for up to two days.

To use: Complete the recipe.

NOTES : A popular staple in northern Italy, polenta is now widely
available in supermarkets. It's bland by itself, but add plenty of fresh herbs and a little Parmesan, serve with a rich tomato sauce and the result is delicious.

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus chilling

Cooking time: 45 minutes
Suitable for vegetarians. 275 cals per serving

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