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Author Notes: A meal or side that highlights late summer produce or adapts to other vegetables you have around. Top with a protein (a fried egg in a pinch!) for dinner tonight, and pack it for lunch tomorrow. Polenta spreads when it is warm, can be sliced when allowed to cool, and reheats nicely.
Baking polenta this way means less time bent over your stove-top. Skeptics of baked polenta be assured--the layer of vegetables keeps the top from drying out. Also, if using coarser cornmeal, increase volume of cooking liquid and cook time slightly.
Adapted from Ina Garten's Baked Polenta with Mushrooms & Blue Cheese. —Julia
- 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cups milk (any fat percentage)
- 3/4 cup fine cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted)
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
- 1 large, fresh tomato
- 1 medium green or yellow squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Bring stock and milk to a boil, lower heat to medium-low. Sprinkle in cornmeal, whisking constantly so as not to form clumps. Once cornmeal has been added, switch to stirring with a spoon until the mixture thickens to a puddling-like texture, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Off the heat, stir in the butter and salt and pepper to taste (remember you will add more S&P later). Pour into 13x9" glass baking pan and top with cheeses.
- Slice squash into 1/3" slices (half-moons if your squash is big), and tomato into thin wedges (slices do not have to be precise, but you want the vegetables to cook uniformly). Arrange like fallen dominoes on top of the cheese. Drizzle olive oil over the veggies, and top with salt and pepper.
- Bake 20-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted, the whole thing is bubbly, and squash are tender.
- Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving. Polenta will spread when fresh from the oven. If you'd prefer to slice it, allow to cool completely. Top with a fried egg, grilled chicken, sausage, or other protein if you want to make a full meal of it, or serve as-is as a side or lunch.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for Now and Later