Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

Ina Garten’s recipe for parmesan polenta got me over my aversion for all things polenta. I had never been a fan of the gooey textured stuff before, but I had been missing something key: enough butter, cream, and parmesan. That, and the right toppings. This meal brings it all together—a creamy polenta base, which serves a two-part role as sauce and substance; and roasted summer veggies, which benefit from (and compliment) the creaminess of the rest of the dish; pine nuts, which add much-needed crunch. I’ve made it four times in the last month, a testament to how well I’ve been convert from polenta-hater to lover. Maybe it will convert someone you know, too.

Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta
Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

Published May 30, 2019 by
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Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



Ingredients:

For Roasted Summer Veggies:
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1-2 small to medium zucchini
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • Salt & Pepper

  • For Parmesan Polenta:
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarsely ground or stone ground cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 heaping cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoon heavy cream (or milk)
  • Ground black pepper to taste

  • For Serving:
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • Garnish: additional shredded Parmesan cheese, additional sprigs of thyme

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Prepare veggies: dice eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Slice zucchini into half moons. Slice bell peppers into strips. Slice red onion into wedges.
    2. Place chopped veggies and cherry tomatoes on a sheet pan in a single layer. Use two sheet pans if veggies are over-crowding the pan. Drizzle liberally with oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme leaves.
    3. Place veggies in oven and roast for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes to ensure even cooking.
    4. When the veggies have 15 minutes left to cook, begin preparing the polenta. Bring 4 cups of water in a pot to a boil. Add salt and garlic.
    5. When water is boiling, add cornmeal, whisking immediately to prevent clumps from forming. After a few minutes, polenta should begin to thicken. Continue whisking, and remove from heat. Continue stirring almost constantly for about 10 minutes.
    6. Add butter, Parmesan cheese, and cream to polenta, stirring to incorporate. Polenta should become thick and creamy, and will continue to set as it cools. Season to taste with pepper.
    7. Serve: scoop polenta into serving bowls, and top with roasted veggies. Sprinkle with pine nuts and parmesan and a garnish with a sprig of thyme. Serve hot.

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    Instant Pot Saffron Rice with Currants and Pine Nuts

    Instant Pot Saffron Rice with Currants and Pine Nuts

    “Yellow rice,” as I called it then, was my dinner request. Just yellow rice!

    The stand-in name was just about right, at least in this instance, because the rice I so craved was a mix my mom would make from a little foil packet purchased at the store. I’m not sure what exactly was in that mix, though I have a hunch: yellow coloring, natural flavors, and salt. It felt like I could eat that rice for days without getting tired of it.

    This version of yellow rice is not that yellow rice. It’s made with Saffron—real saffron— and studded with pine nuts and currants. It’s beautiful, and tastes beautiful too. I could eat it for days without getting tired of it. At first bite, I was immediately transported back to Mom’s yellow rice. It’s a bowl of nostalgia, but also global flavors. It’s vibrant, and homey. And, it’s made in your Instant Pot! (affiliate link)

    (It seems like as a kid, I often identified foods by their color: get the recipe for grown-up Pink Sauce here).

    Instant Pot Saffron Rice with Currants and Pine Nuts
    Instant Pot Saffron Rice with Currants and Pine Nuts

    For a video of this recipe, click here!

    Instant Pot Saffron Rice with Currants and Pine Nuts

    Published May 21, 2019 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white rice (such as basmati)
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced small
  • 4 pinches saffron
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup minced parsley, plus more for garnish

  • Directions:

    1. Turn Instant Pot to sauté setting and heat 1 tablespoon of butter. Add diced onion, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent.
    2. In a mortar and pestle, grind the saffron so that it is almost a powder—a few larger pieces is OK.
    3. Add rice, water, remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, saffron, and salt to pot. Stir.
    4. Secure lid on Instant Pot, and set to “Rice” setting, with the vent in the closed position. Timer should set to 12 minutes.
    5. When the timer goes off, release the pressure. Add currants, pine nuts, and parsley to the pot. Use a fork or spatula stir everything together, fluffing the rice as you go.
    6. Serve hot, sprinkled with additional parsley for garnish.

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    Cold Rice Noodle Bowls with Sriracha Tofu, Thai Basil & Tahini Sauce

    Cold Rice Noodle Bowls with Sriracha Tofu, Thai Basil & Tahini Sauce

    I’m trying something a little different today: a consolidated blog post. While I love writing, sometimes getting a blog post drafted (and published) is a chore. And, I have heard so many people—from friends to general internet chatter—say they wish it was easier to get to the damn recipe! So, here you are. This is an ingredient-heavy recipe, but once you’ve made it once you’ll see it’s quite easy to throw together. Cold rice noodles make a great lunch for enjoying in the sun, on the patio. Fresh herbs, tahini, and spicy Sriracha are bold and bright. Hope you enjoy!

    Cold Rice Noodle Bowls with Sriracha Tofu, Thai Basil & Tahini Sauce
    Cold Rice Noodle Bowls with Sriracha Tofu, Thai Basil & Tahini Sauce

    Cold Rice Noodle Bowls with Sriracha Tofu, Thai Basil & Tahini Sauce

    Published May 7, 2019 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

    For the Sriracha tofu:
  • 1 pound extra firm or super firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • For the tahini dressing:
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • For the bowls:
  • 1 eight ounce package Mai Fun rice noodles
  • About 2 cups spring greens
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 cucumber, diced small
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 daikon radish, julienned
  • 3 sprigs Thai basil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • Optional garnish: toasted sesame seeds and lime wedges

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 475°F and fit a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Place Sriracha, olive oil, and soy sauce in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and place in bowl. Use a spatula to gently turn tofu in sauce until coated. Using tongs or a fork, move tofu to prepared baking pan, leaving at least 1/2 inch of space between pieces. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Using tongs, flip tofu to the other side. Bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, then place pan aside to cool and turn off oven.
    3. Meanwhile, prepare tahini dressing: place tahini, maple syrup, rice vinegar, water, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl and whisk until fully incorporated (note: at first, tahini might not want to mix in, but eventually it will become a smooth sauce!).
    4. Cook rice noodles according to package. Place cooked rice noodles in a fine mesh sieve and rinse with cold water.
    5. Assemble bowls: divide spring greens among serving dishes. Top with rice noodles. Add red pepper, cucumber, carrot, and radish. Top with tofu, then garnish with basil, mint, peanuts, sesame seeds, and lime wedges. Drizzle with tahini sauce. Serve.

    Cold Rice Noodle Bowls with Sriracha Tofu, Thai Basil & Tahini Sauce
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