This polenta is simply the best. I’ve made all types of polenta, but this one from Ina Garten beats them all. It has milk, cream, and vegetable stock which together make the polenta more creamy and flavorful than if you just use water. The rosemary leaves and dried red pepper flakes add some amazing flavor and heat. I make this polenta often, but this time I wanted to top it with some sort of vegetable. Well, Ina Garten also has a delicious recipe for roasted broccoli, so I put two and two together, and Voilà! A match made in…well, my kitchen. The polenta needs to get cold and firm before you fry it, so make sure to make it the night before or the morning of.
For the polenta:
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic, minced
½ teaspoon (or ¾ for more heat!)
½ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves, or ¾ teaspoon dried
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups stock (I use vegetable, but chicken is fine too)
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup milk
1 cup cornmeal (I like Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free polenta corn grits)
¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Flour, olive oil, and butter for frying
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt and pepper and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock, half-and-half, and milk and bring to a boil Remove from the heat and slowly sprinkle the cornmeal into the hot milk while stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan. Pour into an 8×8 inch pan, smooth the top, and refrigerate until cold and firm.
Cut the chilled polenta into 12 squares. Lift each one out with a spatula and cut diagonally into triangles. Dust each triangle lightly in flour. Heat 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan and cook the triangles in batches over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, until browned on the outside and heated inside. Add more butter and oil as needed. Top with the roasted broccoli and serve immediately.
For the roasted broccoli:
4-5 pounds broccoli, cut into florets, leaving an inch or so of stalk.
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons julienned basil leaves
Spread the broccoli florets onto a sheet pan in a single layer. Sprinkle the garlic over the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the tips are starting to get nice and browned. Remove from the oven immediately toss with 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and basil.