The days are still long and hot, the farmer’s market baskets still overflowing with late summer produce, and yet there’s an unmistakable shift in the atmosphere—a notable evening chill that hints to the onset of fall. When the nighttime temps begin to drop, it’s time to turn to the comforting recipes of cooler months with all the wonderful seasonal produce of the warmer ones. In this seasonal dish, creamy, heart-warming polenta serves as a backdrop for fresh vegetables, including thinly shaved zucchini and juicy cherry tomatoes, all enriched with butter, cream and two kinds of cheese.
Goat Cheese Polenta with Summer Vegetables
- 4 1/2 cups (36 fl. oz./1.1 l) water
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz./330 g) polenta
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 4 oz. (125 g) goat cheese, crumbled, plus more for serving
- 1 oz. (30 g) Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream
- 4 squash blossoms (optional)
- 1 zucchini, shaved into thin ribbons
- 1 yellow squash, shaved into thin ribbons
- 1 cup (6 oz./185 g) assorted cherry tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Fresh basil leaves for garnish
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).
In a 5 1/2-quart (5.5-l) Dutch oven over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Season the water generously with salt. Whisk in the polenta in a slow, steady stream, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring continuously, until the polenta begins to thicken and most of the water is absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the butter, goat cheese, Parmesan and cream and stir until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. The polenta should be tender but still have a bite. (The polenta will finish cooking in the oven.) Remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, toss together the squash blossoms, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss again. Arrange the vegetables on top of the polenta. Bake until the zucchini and squash are tender and the tomatoes have burst, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with goat cheese, Parmesan, basil and a few grindings of pepper and serve immediately. Serves 6.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen