Try this vegetarian-friendly, rich and delicious polenta recipe, with blue cheese and spinach, offset by tangy sun-blushed tomatoes.
Polenta is a tricky beast. Cooked well and it can be the most delicious, comforting bowl of pure gold, but it can also stick, turn claggy and splutter itself into an unholy, flavour-less mess.
The trick is to treat it like a risotto – cook it slowly, keeping a close eye on it and stirring every few minutes to ensure it doesn’t stick. And as for bland? We can assure you that once spinach, parmesan, and blue cheese have been stirred through, this will be anything but tasteless. Topped with jammy, slow-roasted tomatoes, this is a weekday or weekend dinner option perfect for any time of year.
Polenta recipe with blue cheese and sun roasted tomatoes
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
- 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- Sea salt 500g baby San Marzano or baby plum tomatoes, halved lengthways
For the spinach and blue cheese polenta:
- 600g large-leaf spinach, washed and stalks removed
- 1.2 litres vegetable stock
- 200g quick-cook polenta 40g unsalted butter, cubed 60g parmesan, finely grated 150g dolcelatte piccante or roquefort, diced
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 120°C/100°C fan/gas mark ½. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Step 2: Whisk together the oil, garlic and a pinch of salt in a large bowl, add the tomatoes and toss to coat. Arrange the tomatoes, cut-side up, on the lined tray and roast for 2 hours until soft and sticky.
Step 3: Meanwhile, to make the polenta, bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the spinach leaves and cook for 1-2 minutes until wilted. Drain thoroughly, then squeeze dry using plenty of kitchen paper. Roughly chop and set aside.
Step 4: Pour the stock into the spinach pan and bring to the boil, then whisk in the polenta, ensuring that you whisk constantly to prevent the polenta from turning lumpy. Turn the heat down and cook slowly, stirring regularly, for 30-35 minutes until the polenta has thickened and starts to pull away from the side of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, whisk in the butter and parmesan and then fold in the spinach and blue cheese.
Step 5: Divide the polenta between four warmed serving bowls and top with the sticky roasted tomatoes.
Recipe from Root & Leaf by Rich Harris (£19.99, Kyle Books), out now.
View more recipes from Stylist here.
Image: Root & Leaf by Rich Harris. Photography: Martin Poole