Bake a pan of polenta until it gets crispy at the edges, and then top it with anything your heart desires. Here, roasted summer vegetables pair with fontina, a mild melting cheese. But this is a fantastic recipe all year long: try it in the fall or winter with butternut squash, mushrooms and Gorgonzola; serve with a salad of field greens.
Polenta with Fontina and Roasted Vegetables
3 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for pans
1 small eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm.) pieces
2 small zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm.) pieces
2 small yellow summer squash, cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm.) pieces
1/2 red onion, cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm.) pieces
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm.) pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup (7 oz./220 g.) stone-ground polenta
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups (8 oz./250 g.) shredded fontina cheese
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Oil a rimmed baking sheet and an 8-inch (20-cm.) baking dish.
In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, red onion and bell pepper. Drizzle with the 3 tablespoons oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast, tossing once, until the vegetables are caramelized, 20-25 minutes. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).
Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, bring 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l.) salted water to a boil over medium heat. Stirring constantly, very slowly add the polenta. Cook, stirring constantly, until the polenta begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook the polenta, stirring frequently, until the polenta is soft, about 25 minutes. Add the butter, Parmesan and fontina and stir until the cheeses melt. Pour the polenta into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top.
Bake just until the polenta begins to set, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and top evenly with the roasted vegetables. Continue to bake until the vegetables are heated through, about 15 minutes. Serve the polenta directly from the dish. Serves 6.
Find more simple one-dish dinners in our cookbook One Pot of the Day by Kate McMillan.