Creamy Warm Polenta with Broccoli Rabe, Mushrooms and Roasted Tomatoes

creamy polenta

Creamy polenta is the perfect winter fare, it’s warm, comforting and becomes the ideal rustic meal for a very cold winter day!

creamy polenta

Fresh herbs, grated Parmigiano Reggiano and a touch of cream stirred into the polenta makes it so irresistible, you’ll be tempted to eat it straight out of the pan, trust me!

creamy polenta

But please try and resist the urge because it tastes even better when it’s spread out all over a platter and then topped with your favorite vegetables.

creamy polenta

I used garlicky broccoli rabe, juicy roasted tomatoes and sauteed portobellos to grace the top of mine. I didn’t even have time to plate it, we just grabbed 2 forks and went to town!

poached egg

Now if you’re feeling like you need just a little more comfort, place a couple of poached eggs on top and let that yolk ooze on out. I guarantee all your senses will be satisfied!

Creamy Warm Polenta with Broccoli Rabe, Mushrooms and Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup polenta ( I used the quick cook kind)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth, or vegetable
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley and basil
  • 1/2 cup of half and half
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 3 portobello mushrooms, gills removed and sliced
  • 1 bunch of broccoli rabe
  • 5 campari tomatoes or several cherry tomatoes
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 minced garlic
  • splash of white wine

Instructions

  1. Prepare Vegetables: Roast tomatoes on baking sheet with foil drizzled with olive oil at 400 until they slightly burst.
  2. Boil broccoli rabe for 5 minutes then place in ice bath, drain, then saute with 2 cloves of shaved garlic, olive oil and a pinch of crushed red pepper.
  3. Saute 2 chopped garlic and 2 chopped shallots in olive oil, add sliced mushrooms and a splash of white wine, cook until moisture evaporates.
  4. For the Polenta: Boil water and broth along with the butter, whisk in polenta cook until bubbly and creamy.
  5. Stir in grated Parmigiano, herbs and the half and half, drizzling a little more olive oil.
  6. Spread polenta on a platter or board, arrange veggies on top, garnish with more Parmigiano
http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2013/02/creamy-warm-polenta-with-broccoli-rabe-mushrooms-and-roasted-tomatoes.html

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Veggie Napoleon

This is a savory version of a napoleon, layers and layers of your favorite vegetables all perched on top of a sturdy portobello base. These pretty bundles are the perfect side dish to any protein you make or a straight up main course served together with a salad.
This dish was inspired by something my sister in law ordered while on vacation, her portobello was filled with Yukon gold potatoes, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers and parmesan cheese.

I wanted to incorporate some autumn vegetables on mine so I added sliced sweet potatoes, kale and some nice fresh green beans I found.
Everything is precooked before you layer, I steamed the green beans and sauteed the kale but roasted everything else you see here, the eggplant, red and yellow peppers, the sweet potatoes and the onion slices all tossed with a little olive oil and placed in a 400 degree oven until golden and tender.

The portobellos, (I bought large ones) were scraped of their gills ( to give you lots of room for layering) and roasted for only 10 minutes along with everything else just to get them a little tender.

Then just start layering! In between the layers you want add some grated cheese that melts good like fontina or mozzarella, it sort of “glues” the veggies together so that when you cut into bundle, ( with a serrated knife please) they won’t fall apart.
Place them back in the oven for a couple of minutes just to let the cheese melt in between.
I think I was getting  a little over zealous here stacking them too high with too many layers in the beginning, I tend to over due it, just ask my kids!
 So I ended up making mine a little more compact with not quite as many layers as above but always ending with the sweet potato slices on top.
 Place your finished veggie napoleon in a nice big puddle of marinara and sprinkle with more cheese, delish!
Get creative here, the various veggie combinations are endless!! 

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Playing with Portobello’s

Large portobellos are so meaty and satisfying, it’s the perfect vehicle for pasta topped stuffing. 
Tiny star pasta called stelline, tossed with garlic, red, yellow and orange peppers, fresh herbs and  cheese of your choice. For a nice light lunch or dinner, it’s delicious served with a salad, or you can have it as a side dish to accompany your favorite protein, either way you’ll love it, and it looks pretty too!
The topping could be made in advance then arranged on the mushrooms at the last minute.

  In a small  pan drizzled with olive oil add minced garlic, finely diced red, yellow and orange diced peppers. Stir in fresh herbs like basil and parsley and your favorite shredded cheese, I used romano and asiago. Toss in your precooked tiny pasta.
The mushrooms I slightly precooked in a 425 degree oven until they started to wilt a little.
Top each mushroom with the pasta mixture, then place under the broiler for up to 5 minutes or until the topping is golden or mushrooms are warmed through. 

Portobellos also make a fantastic meatless lasagna, stack three high and fill each cap with a layer of marinara then top with a mixture made up of of ricotta, grated romano, mozzarella, asiago, basil and parsley.
 Prepare mushrooms as above.
Spoon more marinara over the top and bake for around 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven or just until warmed through.

Buon Appetito! 

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