Polenta with Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms

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In Italy, polenta can be enjoyed at any time of day either sweet or savory. Polenta once was known as “peasant food” because it was cheap and readily available. But polenta or “Italian grits” is extremely versatile and extremely yummy. I used a gluten-free variety.

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I followed a recipe from Nutrition Coach Linda Wagner, but added my own twist with the mushrooms.

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Raw tomatoes, a blend of Roma and grape, are sliced, and laid on parchment along with whole, un-peeled garlic and herbs.

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Raw onions are slowly caramelized.

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I used one packet of Stevia to help give the onions a golden color.

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 Earthy mushrooms also get the caramelized treatment.

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After 30-45 minutes in the oven, your tomatoes are fragrant and beautifully roasted.

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I layered a little polenta on the bottom of my bowl, then caramelized onions, mushrooms, the roasted tomatoes and a dollop more of polenta and a sprinkle of herbs de provence to finish it off.

Ingredients, for oven roasted tomatoes, from Linda Wagner:

  • Tomatoes (use which ever variety you like: cherry, grape, roma, etc.). I used 3 Roma tomatoes and just under a pint of grape. 
  • Whole garlic cloves with skin
  • Sea salt
  • Herbs and spices. Again, use whatever you like. I used herbs de provence and a little dried basil. You can also mix fresh and dried

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Wash and slice tomatoes
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Lay tomatoes on parchment and add garlic, sprinkle with herbs and spices of your choosing
  • Roast for 30 to 45 minutes until shriveled.

*Note: Your tomatoes will take the longest, so start with them, then caramelize your onions and mushrooms. The polenta cooks quickly so it can be among your final steps or it can sit in the pot and be re-heated.

Ingredients for Polenta, caramelized onions and mushrooms, from Linda Wagner:

  • 1 cup organic polenta (I used gluten-free) 
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 Tbs organic, unsalted butter
  • 3 oz (or a bit more) chevre style goat cheese
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp herbs de provence
  • 1 tsp sugar or alternative sugar, like Stevia
  • 1 pint bella mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • olive oil
  • unsalted butter (1 tbs)
  • sea salt

Directions: 

  • In a medium to large pot, add polenta, butter, sea salt and 4 cups of water
  • Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a low simmer. Stir frequently to avoid sticking.
  • When the polenta is thick, turn off heat and add goat cheese and a bit more sea salt plus some fresh black pepper.
  • Stir.
  • Meantime, caramelize your onions and mushrooms. I used the same pan, but caramelized separately.
  • Onions first: heat pan, slice onions, season with salt, herbs and sugar and saute. It will take 30 to 45 minutes depending on your onion thickness and quantity. Once they are done, let sit in a bowl off to the side.
  • Mushrooms don’t take quite as long. Wash and slice your mushrooms. Add a bit of butter and olive oil to your pan. Once the oil-butter mixture has melted together, add your mushrooms. Once they’re cooked down, add the onions.

Assemble your meal with polenta on the bottom, then onion-mushroom mixture and your tomatoes. Sprinkle with more fresh herbs or goat cheese if you’d like. This meal would go well with a green salad and glass of full-bodied red wine. Enjoy!

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