roasted tomatoes over polenta

My little garden was overflowing with tomatoes this fall, particularly cherry tomatoes and mini romas.  As many as we ate, there always seemed to be a big bowl still sitting on the counter.  This recipe was my own invention as a way to use up a bunch of tomatoes before they went bad.  The warm, roasted tomatoes combined with the pesto make a delicious sauce.  Polenta is a relative new-comer to our kitchen.  I've tried making it in the past, but Trevor didn't like it.  This method was a winner though.  The texture is really good and I think cooking it for longer helps to enhance the corn flavour.  Mmmm, I'm definitely looking forward to more polenta comfort-food dishes this fall & winter!

Roasted Tomatoes Over Polenta

  • 2-3 cups of small tomatoes (cherry, grape, etc.)
  • 3 tbsp pesto (any variety)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil, finely chopped

First, preheat your oven to 375F.  Stir the pesto and olive oil together in a small roasting dish, then toss the whole tomatoes in the pesto mixture.  Roast in the oven while the polenta cooks (about 30 minutes)

Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat and add the salt.  Pour the polenta slowly into the pot while whisking gently, so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.  Turn the heat down to low.  Continue whisking until the polenta has thickened enough that it doesn't settle on the bottom of the pot when you stop stirring.  Cover the pot and continue cooking.  Stir the polenta every 10 minutes, cooking for about 30 minutes total.  Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the butter and parmesan cheese.

Serve the polenta immediately with the tomatoes spooned over the top with a sprinkle of basil.  As you can see in the photo, I also sliced a pan-fried chicken breast over the top (a tasty addition).  Any leftover polenta will set up into a solid block that can be sliced & pan-fried the next day (yum!)