Saturday, January 21, 2012

Polenta with Broccoli

In the Italian-American home where I grew up, my Grandma Marianna would serve this dish on a regular basis, only she made her own polenta. Here I opt for the shortcut of using prepared polenta that is sold in tubes, which I slice and pan-grill.

The flavors of polenta and broccoli complement each other so well that the final product is far greater than the sum of its parts.


1 tube of prepared polenta (plain)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 cups fresh broccoli florets (approx. 1 pound)
1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the polenta into 8 slices.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Add the polenta slices, and cook, turning once, until heated through and lightly browned on both sides. Keep warm until ready to use.

Meanwhile, blanch the broccoli by boiling in water until crisp-tender, about 3-6 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of the florets. (Alternatively, you can microwave the broccoli with 1/4 cup of water for a similar length of time until crisp-tender.) Rinse the cooked broccoli under cold water to stop the cooking, and drain.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, and saute for a 2-3 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Do not let the garlic burn.

Add the broccoli to the skillet, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Saute over medium to medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes to heat the broccoli and blend the flavors.

To serve, arrange polenta slices on serving plate(s). Top with the broccoli.

-- 4 servings (2 polenta slices per serving)

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