Parmesan Polenta with Red Sauce

Baked Polenta with Red Sauce

Sonia saw this Parmesan polenta recipe in a Cook’s Country magazine and requested that we try it. So she deserves credit for putting this into our rotation!

In case you’re not familiar with it, polenta is a cornmeal pudding, which is often chilled and then sliced and baked or fried.

Parmesan Polenta with Homemade Tomato Sauce

(The fried mush we eat is an example of that.)

In this case, the polenta has some savory flavorings, such as garlic, pepper, and Parmesan cheese, whereas the fried mush mixture I make is just cornmeal, water, and salt.

Parmesan polenta is a good vegetarian main dish, but you could also serve it as a side along with something like Italian chicken sausages.

There’s a printable recipe card at the end of this post, and here are some photos to give you an idea of how this goes!

To start, heat oil and butter in a pan until the butter melts.

Then smash a few peeled garlic cloves. I just whack them a few times with my meat mallet.

Add them to the butter/oil mixture, and cook until they’re slightly browned.

Remove the garlic, add water, bring to a boil, and then sloooowly add the cornmeal, whisking as you go so as to avoid lumps.

The mixture will thicken up a little immediately.

But you need to keep cooking it over low heat for another 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

This is not exactly labor intensive, but you need to be in the same room as your stove!

So, I like to make this when I have other kitchen tasks I need to do anyway.  Then I can just stop every few minutes and give the polenta a stir.

It’s hard to see in the photo, but after 20 minutes, this should be VERY thick.

Stir in half and half and Parmesan cheese.

Then pour the mixture into a greased 8×8 pan, and let it cool on a wire rack.

Once it’s room temperature, refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or until completely cooled.

You could top your polenta with jarred tomato sauce (easy!)

But if you want to put into a little extra effort, you can use the polenta-cooling time to make a quick pot of homemade tomato sauce.

(Using canned tomatoes; this is not hard!)

Once the polenta is chilled, heat your oven to 375° F. 

Turn the polenta out onto a cutting board, cut into 6 pieces, and place onto a greased baking sheet, or a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the bottoms are just beginning to brown.  Serve topped with tomato sauce.

Parmesan Polenta with Homemade Tomato Sauce

Leftover pieces are good heated in the microwave and make for a lovely lunch the next day.

But I think the best leftover method is to microwave the pieces and then brown the sides in a pan on the stovetop.  So good!

Yield: 6 servings

Baked Polenta with Red Sauce



Fluffy baked Parmesan polenta, topped with an easy homemade red sauce.
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
55 minutes
Additional Time
4 hours
Total Time
5 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • POLENTA
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • RED SAUCE
  • 14.5 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved through the root end
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Combine butter and olive oil in medium sauce pan; heat over medium heat until butter melts. Add garlic; cook 4 minutes, or until garlic is golden brown. Remove garlic.
  2. Add water, salt, and pepper to pot; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Stirring constantly, add cornmeal in a steady stream. Reduce heat to medium low; simmer, stirring every few minutes, until cornmeal is tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat; whisk in Parmesan and half and half. Pour into a greased 8×8 inch pan and let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours, or until completely cool.
  5. To make red sauce: Process whole tomatoes + the liquid from the can in blender or food processor until completely smooth.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium saucepan until shimmering; add halved onion and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add pureed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Parmesan, sugar, salt, garlic powder, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Simmer 15 minutes over medium low heat. Remove from heat, remove and discard onion, and keep sauce warm over low heat.
  7. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; grease parchment. Heat oven to 375°F.
  8. When polenta is fully chilled, remove from fridge, cut into six pieces, and place each on on prepared sheet. Bake until heated through and pieces begin to brown on bottom, about 30 minutes. Serve each piece topped with red sauce.

Notes

Cook’s Country recommends using Quaker yellow cornmeal, so that’s what I do. Cooking time may vary with other cornmeal products.

The original recipe called for Pecorino Romano, but I always use Parmesan since Aldi carries Parmesan wedges!

I use a Danish dough whisk to stir the polenta; it prevents lumps without getting stuck in the thick polenta.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

 

The post Parmesan Polenta with Red Sauce appeared first on The Frugal Girl.

Crispy Chicken Patties

Chicken Patties on white platterReady for a fun and flavorful dinner? Cook up a batch of fried Chicken Patties. Better than any chicken nuggets, they make a hearty main dish protein or a tasty filler for sandwiches. You know how some meals just seem more fun than others? One doesn’t look forward to an “experience” when served a bologna […]

The post Crispy Chicken Patties appeared first on Good Cheap Eats.

Grilled Vegetable Couscous Salad

Enjoy all the flavors of the season with this easy-to-prep, low-cook meal that’s perfect for those nights when you want something light yet nourishing. This Grilled Vegetable Couscous Salad is just the ticket. Some nights you just don’t want to cook. The day is long, and your temper, quite frankly, is short. You could go […]

The post Grilled Vegetable Couscous Salad appeared first on Good Cheap Eats.

No-Cook Suppers: Enjoy Real Food the Easy Way

Don’t feel like cooking tonight? No problem. You can skip that kitchen task and still eat real, good food on a budget with these no-cook suppers. No take-out or reservations required. The Ploughman’s Lunch Fancy dinners are to people in the 2000’s what restaurants were to people in the ’80s. Ahem. I just might have borrowed […]

The post No-Cook Suppers: Enjoy Real Food the Easy Way appeared first on Good Cheap Eats.

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches for a Quick & Simple Meal

This Chicken Caesar Sandwich Recipe is just what you expect – quick and simple deliciousness tucked into French bread. They are a fun, portable twist on a vintage classic. Do you love caesar salad but sometimes find it a little cliche? Are you ready for a sandwich that will knock your socks off? Do you […]

The post Chicken Caesar Sandwiches for a Quick & Simple Meal appeared first on Good Cheap Eats.

The Ploughman’s Lunch, a very British Snacky Lunch

plate of meats, cheeses, egg, fruit, and pickleThe Ploughman’s Lunch, aka Ploughman’s, is the UK version of the Snacky Lunch. What was once a laborer’s meal now looks like a very posh cheese and meat platter. Make your own at home for less! You’re looking for an easy, no-cook meal but you want it to feel a little special. You’re tired of […]

The post The Ploughman’s Lunch, a very British Snacky Lunch appeared first on Good Cheap Eats.

Healthy Chicken Stir Fry

Healthy Chicken Stir Fry on top of brown rice in a white bowl with crossed chopsticksHealthy Chicken Stir Fry on top of brown rice in a white bowl with crossed chopsticks

This post was updated and republished for your enjoyment.

There are over 500 (!) recipes on this website. I’ve been cooking things, taking pictures, and posting recipes on the internet for all to see for almost six years now. And yet, somehow, I still don’t have all of my go-to, staple, can-always-count-on-it recipes posted.

Walk into my kitchen on any given weeknight and guess what you’d probably find me making? This Healthy Chicken Stir Fry. Even though it’s a staple in our house, it has somehow escaped the viewfinder of the blog up until now. That changes today.

Healthy Chicken Stir Fry on top of brown rice in a white bowl on a white background

The interesting thing about this dish is it’s exactly the kind of thing I never would have eaten a few years ago. Two common flavorings in stir fry—soy sauce and ginger—are not my most favorite of flavors. People are always shocked when I tell them that!

But I’ve made a lot of progress over the past few years. I actually like ginger now, and I can tolerate soy sauce when it’s a base flavor in a sauce or marinade. You still won’t find me dousing my rice in soy sauce anytime soon, but I’m proud of my palate for evolving! And it’s evolved right into loving this simple, healthy, weeknight stir fry. I love this quick dinner! Read the post »

The post Healthy Chicken Stir Fry appeared first on Wholefully.

Steak Fajita Bowls with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

Steak Fajita Bowls with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice in a grey bowl on a white background, with toppings in individual bowls nearbySteak Fajita Bowls with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice in a grey bowl on a white background, with toppings in individual bowls nearby

There are few meals in life that I love more than a spicy, hearty, colorful fajita bowl. Bowls like this manage to walk the line between totally healthy (this is like 95% vegetables!) and still somehow totally stick-to-your-ribs satisfying. This is the meal I’d serve to someone who isn’t too sure about healthy eating—this meal can make even the most skeptical person change their tune.

A typical fajita or burrito bowl has a base of seasoned rice to act as a vehicle for all the glorious toppings. If you eat grains, rice (especially sprouted rice) would be a great option. But here, I use cauliflower rice, which has the fluffy, starchy texture of rice but with the added nutrition, fiber, and flavor of cauliflower. Cauliflower rice (or cauli-rice as some folks call it) is a great option for those of us who struggle to digest grains or otherwise choose not to eat grains.

Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice in a white bowl

Cauliflower rice has been a thing now for quite some time, and when I first made it, I have to be honest, I thought it was so not appetizing. What crazy person said this was anything like rice? It was mushy and soggy and tasted like CAULLIFLOWERRRRRR! And I typically love the taste of cauliflower, but I don’t want my rice to taste like it!

I was determined to keep working at mastering cauliflower rice though, and I’m happy to say that I can now cook a pan of cauliflower rice like a boss!  Here are a few tips to making good cauliflower rice each time:

  • Use frozen riced cauliflower if you can. Most major supermarkets now carry frozen riced cauliflower in their frozen veggies section. Not only is it easier than chopping up a head of cauliflower in your food processor and more affordable than fresh, but I also find that it results in a much fluffier, rice-like end result. I’ve been able to make good cauliflower rice from fresh, but it takes a little more effort—from frozen, I get perfect results every time.
  • Steam, don’t boil or sauté. Whenever you go to cook your cauliflower rice, add just a touch (a couple of tablespoons per bag of frozen riced cauliflower) of water and steam your rice—don’t boil it (too mushy!) or sauté it (not fluffy!). By the time the cauliflower is cooked through, all the water should have evaporated and/or been absorbed. You want your end cauliflower to be tender, but not over-cooked.
  • Flavor your rice. Sulfur-heavy cauliflower can be a bit overpowering when left to its own devices, so make sure you season your cauliflower rice liberally. Strong flavors like garlic do a great job of helping to mask some of the cauliflower-iness.

Read the post »

The post Steak Fajita Bowls with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice appeared first on Wholefully.

Beans and Rice: A Very Good Cheap Eat

Beans and rice are a good cheap eat, especially when you top them with chips, salsa, and some other goodies. They make a filling meal to help you save money and eat well. We eat beans and rice at least once a week for dinner. Sometimes they are side dishes, but often they make the […]

The post Beans and Rice: A Very Good Cheap Eat appeared first on Good Cheap Eats.