Thursday, January 5, 2012

Broiled Polenta with Caramelized Onions and Sweet Peppers

An easy January meal from the pantry and freezer. Sometimes even I get tired of root vegetables in the winter.

4 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
2/3 cup polenta cornmeal
2/3 cup quinoa
Olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 medium sweet red peppers, chopped (frozen ok)
1/2 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4-1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (optional)
4-6 oz shredded mozzarella

In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt, and whisk in the polenta meal and quinoa. Lower the heat to a simmer and continue to stir with a spoon. Be careful, as the cooking polenta is viscous and can bubble up and burn you. Cooking time will vary with the type of polenta you are using. The kind I get at Green Fields Market, in the bulk section, thickens up very quickly, but the addition of quinoa slows it down. You want it to be pretty stiff for this application. When the polenta is cooked, remove from heat, cover, and set aside for now.

Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until until they begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. (If you have the time and inclination, feel free to cook them longer for a deeper, richer caramelization.) Add the peppers, basil, and salt and pepper to taste and saute another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and preheat the broiler.

Oil a 9x13-inch inch baking dish. Spread the cooked polenta in the bottom. Top with the sauce, then the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if using, then top with mozzarella.

Broil the polenta for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown. Serve hot.

Serves 5-6.

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