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
  • 1 cup polenta ( I used the quick cook kind)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth, or vegetable
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley and basil
  • ½ 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
  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

Warm and Cozy Fall Dinners

The cooler weather is bringing out my urge to cook more comfort foods. When it’s damp, rainy and cold outside, like it happens to be today, a salad just isn’t going to cut it! I’m sharing with you two of a very long list of dinners that bring me comfort.  Neither take too long to cook, so both would be great for a mid week meal as well as for the weekend.
Boneless Pork Chops in a Creamy Mustard Thyme Sauce with Mushrooms and Caramelized Shallots.
Sound fancy or complicated?  It’s really not, providing you have some caramelized shallots or onions done ahead of time.

Season your chops with salt and pepper then brown them in a drizzle of olive oil.*** Remove chops, do the same with the mushrooms, then set aside as well.*** De glaze your pan with chicken stock enough to cover the bottom and let it bubble.*** Add two heaping tablespoons of grainy mustard, some fresh thyme and a cup or so of cream or half and half, whisking until smooth.*** Place the chops back in along with the mushrooms and simmer until meat is cooked through.*** Garnish with the caramelized shallots.
You’ll need to have something green on the side so, how about a little broccoli rabe? It goes very well with both the pork and the chicken. Here’s how I make it.
And speaking of chicken, I love making this Ricotta Stuffed Chicken. You’ll need a butterflied chicken, which means you need to remove the rib, back and breast bone of your chicken then flatten it out like a butterfly. I’ve tried to do it myself but it’s never a pretty site so I just let my butcher at Whole Foods do it for me, it takes him 2 seconds and it comes out perfect every time!
Gently loosen the skin all around the chicken with your fingers, be careful not to rip into it.

Saute in a small pan, 3 chopped green onions and 1 minced garlic clove.*** After it cools, place into a bowl along with 2 cups of drained ricotta cheese,*** 1/2 cup of chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil,***1/2 cup of grated romano cheese,*** the zest of 1 lemon,*** chopped fresh basil and parsley,*** salt and pepper. Mix it all together.
Take a spoon and shove the mixture all over underneath the skin that you loosened. Rub the outside of your chicken with olive oil and fresh herbs and roast in a 375 degree oven until internal temperature reaches 180.Get your sweater on and start cooking!



Craving Something Green!

I don’t know about you but after a couple of days of turkey leftovers I’m turkeyed out and craving something green, broccoli rabe/ rapini will always satisfy my craving!

Broccoli rabe is highly nutritious and contains many antioxidants in just a small portion, something I definitely need right about now!
If you’ve never tried broccoli rabe it’s taste is something similar to kale with a slightly bitter bite to it, wonderful as a side dish and so good with pasta!

Blanching in boiling water for 3 minutes and then placing in an ice bath will help reduce that bite a little, but after all it’s a hearty green and that slightly bitter taste is the distinctive quality of broccoli rabe.

Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil in the bottom of a saute pan, add shaved garlic and cook until golden along with red pepper flakes to taste. Place your drained broccoli rabe in the pan and cook until tender around 10 to 15 minutes, you can add a tiny bit of water or even some broth to create steam to help it cook through to your desired tenderness, finish off with a squeeze of lemon on top and a drizzle more of olive oil.

I served my broccoli rabe on the side with spaghetti squash tossed with roasted red peppers and a boneless pork cutlet, I told you I was turkeyed out!

Buon Appetito!


Broccoli Rabe Pasta, with Sausage, Roasted Tomatoes and Beans!

Rapini, or otherwise known as, Broccoli Rabe, is a relative of the turnip family, and loaded with many healthy benefits.

Who couldn’t use a little extra vitamin C, K, Potassium, Calcium, and Iron! Not to mention, it’s very high in phytochemicals, which have the potential for reducing the risk of cancer.

Wikipedia describes it as “nutty, bitter, pungent, an acquired taste”. It is a little bitter, but that’s what makes it so good! I find that blanching it in water for a couple minutes takes some of that bitterness away.

Pairing it with some spicy Italian sausage gives it the perfect balance!

Normally this dish is made with orrecciette pasta, but I like to try it with some of the other specialty pasta’s that are out there.


1 lb. of Spicy Italian Sausage, cut up into bite size pieces
1 lb. of Cooked Broccoli Rabe
1lb. Specialty Pasta
Roasted Tomatoes ( Recipe Here)
4 Cloves of Crushed Garlic
1/4 Cup of Garlic Flavored Olive Oil
1 Can of Cannelloni Beans
Grated Romano Cheese
Reserved Broccoli Rabe Water, or a touch of Stock


1. Saute your sausage in the garlic oil along with the crushed garlic, till no longer pink.
2. Add in about a 1/2 cup of the broccoli rabe water or stock. ( you might need a little more)
3. Add beans, and cooked broccoli rabe.
4. Cook pasta al dente, and toss in.
5. Gently toss in some roasted tomatoes, (as many as you want).
6. Season with salt, pepper, and the grated romano, and maybe a little extra olive oil.

Something good to eat while we’re all watching the Presidential Inauguration ceremonies today!

Buon Appetito!!