Friday, October 7, 2011
The abundance of winter squash at farmers market means fall is officially here. Celebrate this harvest by making some creamy polenta. Last night I made a wonderful Autumn polenta made with roasted butternut squash that I like to make for special holidays such as Thanksgiving, but once you taste it, you won't want to save it just for special occasions. I just love how the squash enhances the flavor. Actually this is so good, that I had planned to make homemade manicotti today and stuff it with my leftover butternut polenta--but hubby had a different idea to polish off the bowl I had tucked away, and instead, made himself breakfast this morn with the polenta and drizzled maple syrup and some almonds on top. So much for my lunch today..sheesh!
I’ve really become a big fan of polenta. It’s rich, creamy, warm, and comforting, and the perfect blank canvas to work with. I almost always add a nice handful of freshly grated cheese to the mix. Sometimes I wilt some spinach or chard into it, or top the polenta with an assortment of mushrooms, but my latest addition has been to include roasted butternut squash,garlic and herbs. The gentle natural sweetness of the roasted squash just gives this dish some oomph that we thoroughly enjoy! Not only is it delicious, I think I'm loving polenta as much as I love risotto for it's versatility. (and if you follow this blog regularly, you know how much we love risotto around here!) Did I tell you that I made roasted tomato risotto last week that was to die for?! If not, well I will very soon. :)
Seriously though, polenta really is so versatile You can serve it freshly made, all that creamy warm goodness and simply savor it. Or as I had planned-- include it into some freshly made manicotti as well. Or you can allow it to set after pouring it out onto a baking sheet, and then cut it into squares to pan fry later and top with your favorite fresh veggies, mushrooms or greens--or even serve it for a brilliant breakfast idea too! LOL Any way you slice it, it's the best leftover dish you'll ever have!
Roasted Butternut Squash Polenta with Fresh Sage
3 lbs butternut squash, halved lengthwise, and seeded
3-4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 TBLS olive oil
3/4 tsp fresh sage, chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups fine cornmeal
1 TBLS fresh sage, minced
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBLS olive oil
1 cup sliced Mushrooms-Shitake mushrooms, button mushrooms. I like to mix them up
2 shallots, minced.
1 garlic clove, minced
fresh summer savory, minced
fresh Italian parsley, minced
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Arrange squash, cut side up, in large sheet pan. Place garlic cloves in squash cavities. Drizzle olive oil over each. Sprinkle with sage, sea salt and ground pepper. Cover lightly with foil and bake until squash is tender, about 1 hour.
Cool the roasted squash completely and puree in food processor. Set aside.
Sautee the mushrooms garlic and shallots in olive oil until cooked. Set aside.
Combine broth, water and salt in heavy large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in cornmeal. Reduce heat to low and cook until mixture is thick and creamy, stirring often, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in fresh sage and squash puree.
Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in cheese. Add seasoning to taste. Cover and let sit for a few minutes. Rewarm your mushrooms mixture.
To serve, pour the squash polenta into your bowl--topped with the warm mushrooms and lots of grated cheese. Sprinkle fresh parsley and savory and serve.
I served this with roasted pork loin and apples, with a crisp garden salad and homemade applesauce. Dee-liscious! Enjoy the holiday weekend everyone.. we're heading up north to do some leaf peepin'.