Polenta is an Italian store-cupboard staple. Typically a peasant ingredient it still remains a cheap but versatile grain. Recognised for its rich, yellow colour, it has a sweet taste to it and be found ranging from coarse to fine. It can be cooked to be creamy and thick, or griddled, baked and fried. It can even replace flour in gluten-free baking and comes in handy as a coating to meat and fish. This recipe makes a great vegetarian main meal or great as a side dish. Swap the feta cheese with any that you fancy. Try, cheddar, swiss, gouda or even stinky gorgonzola!
- 300g quick-cook polenta
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- Small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 2 leeks
- 200g mushrooms
- 300g cherry tomatoes
- Feta cheese, cubed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6. Mix the dry polenta grains with the garlic and parsley. Into a saucepan, pour the polenta mix into the required amount of boiling water as stated on the cooking packet. Cook polenta until a smooth consistency is achieved. Then pour into a baking tray. Set aside to cool.
In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the leeks and mushrooms until tender.
Top the polenta with the fried vegetables and add the feta and tomatoes. Bake in the oven for 20mins until the polenta has risen and the cheese has started to melt. Serve immediately.
Top tip for making Baked vegetable polenta
For extra flavour, use stock to cook the polenta in instead of water.