I have been making a lot of comfort foods due to long cold winter days so I thought I of adding a few non-Indian comfort foods too as soon as I saw my favorite chef and food network star Giada De Laurentiis polenta preparation on TV and immediately fell in love with it. I just added my twist to it after I have seen several versions of polenta being served in various restaurants and events. Polenta could be eaten in many ways – by having different toppings, layered, with sauce etc. Nevertheless, the simple plain polenta is satisfying by itself. Try it and see it for yourself.
– 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
– 1/2 cup quick-cooking polenta
– 1/2 cup thawed spinach or 3 cups fresh spinach
– 1 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
– Pesto Sauce
– Sun dried tomato pesto or pasta sauce
– Roasted Red bell pepper in the jar
– 1 tsp olive oil
– 1 clove of garlic crushed
– Salt per taste
Bring about 2 cups of water, 1 tbsp butter, and some salt as per taste to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir constantly until the polenta thickens for about 5 minutes. Now, pour the cooked polenta into a greased 9 by 9-inch baking pan, spreading so that it is 1/3-inch thick. Cover and let stand at room temperature until set for about 15 minutes. Cut the polenta into small squares as you desire. Arrange the polenta squares on a platter.
Heat olive oil in a pan, add garlic, then the spinach, sprinkle a little water and let it cook for about 3 – 5 mins until wilted. Add some salt and pepper and check for seasonings. Keep it aside to cool. Now spread some pesto sauce on the polenta square, arrange a piece of roasted red bell pepper, then some spinach. Spread some sun-dried tomato pesto or pasta sauce on another polenta square and cover the spinach with this other polenta square like a sandwich, sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy with a side of fresh crisp salad.
NOTE: Make sure to squeeze all the water if frozen spinach is used. To make your own roasted red bell pepper, you can find my recipe here – How To – Roasted Bell Pepper. There are tons of recipe available for pesto. If you don’t want to use it, you can simply use the pasta sauce or sun-dried tomato pesto on both the polenta.