Creamy Polenta with Tomato Sauce

Posted on by Lisa Codina 1151 Views

I love cooking…and I actually don’t mind spending the entire day in the kitchen! It’s a stress reliever for me and basically my favourite hobby (next to going to the gym and of course, spending time with my family).  Having said that, I DO always look for short cuts in the kitchen!

Take for example, this recipe. Polenta has such a bad rep…and I get it! Who wants to stand next to the stove for 30 minutes whisking it in a pot (that is unless you could use the arm workout!)?

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The trick to this easy and QUICK recipe? Instant polenta!

A true Italian might cringe at the thought, but let me tell you…I’ve been in Italy for four months, and believe it or not, they DO use instant polenta!

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So there you have it! Not only is this super quick and easy to make, it’s also gluten-free friendly and a perfect comfort food to serve baby (and the family) during those cold autumn days and nights.

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For the tomato sauce:
(Yields about 1 cup)
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, halved
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 can diced tomatoes (plus liquid)
1/2 cup distilled water
1 tsp. dried oregano
4-5 fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp. salt and pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp. sugar (optional)

Heat oil in a small saucepan on medium heat for 1 minute then add garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until thickened and most of the water has evaporated.  Add freshly chopped basil once you turn off the heat and stir to wilt.

Polenta Ingredients:
(Yields about 2 cups)
1/2 cup instant polenta
2 cups vegetable broth or distilled water
tomato sauce, quantity as desired
1-2 tbs. Parmesan cheese
1 oz soft cheese, such as Laughing Cow or ricotta
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan (*Although this makes a small amount, using a larger saucepan makes it easier to whisk!)

Once boiling, reduce heat to low then SLOWLY pour in the polenta, whisking at the same time.

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Continue to whisk in a circular motion until the polenta thickens and comes off the sides of the pan. *If you do this properly, the polenta should be super-smooth!

Take the pan off the heat, add the cheese, Parmesan, and olive oil…

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and tomato sauce, and mix until combined.

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Serve immediately! I like to add another drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and an extra sprinkle of Parmesan.

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*TIP: Polenta firms up VERY quickly. To soften when reheating simply add some vegetable broth or water (formula, breast milk, or milk of choice for a creamy version), heat, and mash with a fork to get back that creamy consistency.

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I set aside half of this for my 9 month old daughter (it made 2 lunches worth) and poured the other half into a flat tray.

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Tomorrow I’m making polenta taters for my son!

taters

 

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  • Jennifer Avventura

    I will be trying this recipe this week! Can’t wait!

    • Lisa @bitesforbabies

      If you want hub’s approval, I definitely suggest adding salt and pepper (obviously) and some peperoncino…and maybe a tomato sauce with cinghiale would do the trick!

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