Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Polenta with Cauliflower

My husband grew up eating "Polenta," which is an Italian word whose translation means "a thick mush made of cornmeal boiled in water or stock." His mother usually added cut up broccoli to the water as the cornmeal cooked, and then when it was thickened, but still soft, she would pour out a large soup bowl size serving for each person in the family and then added a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top. It was often their whole meal for the evening! It was inexpensive, nutritious and filling.

When I received my October 17, 2008 issue of Family Circle Magazine this week I saw a feature article called "Amazing Grains," which had a recipe for "Polenta With Cauliflower," which I immediately knew I'd make for dinner as a special treat for my husband.

It was delicious! It was a nice, low cost and satisfying vegetarian meal, perfect for a crisp autumn evening.

Polenta With Cauliflower

Makes: 6 servings Bake: 50 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes Prep: 5 minutes


1-1/3 cup instant polenta (white or yellow ground cornmeal)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 2-pound head cauliflower
1 jar (28 ounces) marinara sauce
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. In small bowl, combine polenta and 2 cups cool water. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, the salt and pepper. Stir polenta into boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook 5 minutes, stirring. Spread in prepared dish

3. Cut cauliflower into equal-size florets. Spread half over polenta. Top with 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce. Sprinkle with half the bread crumbs and half of the mozzarella. Repeat layering, ending with mozzarella. ( *if you like you cauliflower very soft you might want to par boil the florets and drain the well before using. When I made this recipe the cauliflower was semi soft)

Cover with foil. Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes. Uncover, top with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan and bake 10 more minutes. Let rest 15 minutes.

I served it with extra Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on each serving, and we had a green salad as a side. My husband loved it, and it brought back some of his childhood memories.

That's comfort food, Italian style!

Buon appetito!


Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Pat,
That recipe looks great! I love anything Italian.
Thanks for sharing

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

What a scrumptious looking picture that is! It's always great when a recipe lives up to our expectations.

Mama said...

Hi Pat, we are not usually big cauliflower eaters here but your italian comfort food looks so delicious I am going to try it tonight. hugs, Kathy

Baby Vagabond said...

Morning Pat.....I think I would like that. I grew up with the Pennsylvania Dutch Corn Mush and loved it. It has been a long time since that flavor has touched my tongue. I think I am ready for this Italian version!

((hugs)) Rosie

Judy said...

I love cauliflower...but have never had polenta. You made it look so delicious!

Kitem said...

I will try it, for sure, sounds delicious.
I am going to London tomorrow to visit my daughter and of course talk to my future grand daughter. I borrowed your baby drawing for my today's post.

Mrs. B said...

Oh yum! I love polenta and I love cauliflower! And I love them both covered with cheese! Although I'm not sure all that cheese will fit in with my current attempt at a diet. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful memory lane food for your hubby.

I love the "Unconditional Surrender" statue in your previous post. Wow what a kiss! I hope he knew her ..blush... :-)

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Thanks for dropping by. Your dish looks so delicious! I must try it. No, I didn't get my background fixed. It stays black for a minute then goes back to the pink. If you know how I can change it please let me know. Yes, it does remind me of mush. I used to have it fried when I was a little girl. By putting on that tomato sauce and cheese it looks like a very healthy lasagna. Yummy.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

This does indeed look like comfort food. The north has polenta, the south has grits!

nanatrish said...

Pat, what is a glass clouche? I must not have one, I haven't a clue what it is. I saw you wrote it in a comment and I am curious.

Anonymous said...

I like polenta and cauliflower, so this recipe sounds like a winner to me. ;-)


Pat said...

Nanatrish it is like a bell jar -- it is a long glass cover that many people use to cover a display of some sort. I bet if you try a google image search many will come up! They are very popular these days :-)

Camille said...

That looks yummy. I make something very similar, but with a lot of mushrooms. I don't think I could camoflage cauliflower enough that my kids would eat it. But, they like the recipe with the mushrooms...oh, and I just remembered, I owe a eggplant parm. recipe to you. I'll try to type that out soon!

M.Kate said...

Hi Pat, I dont think I have eaten this...Italian food here are always about pasta and pizza, maybe I've missed this dish. Very interesting..maybe I should cook this and serve my MIL, if it doesnt shock her senses and taste buds, I am sure the dish taste heavenly, I'd love to eat it..maybe me cooking it not a good idea. big hugs to you and happy weekend :D

Rhonda said...

This recipe sounds really good, and your pictures---uuummmm. I'll have to try it.

tales from an O.C. cottage said...

Looks yuuuuuuuummy!!

M ^..^

Tracy said...

Comfort food, indeed! And how!! This rigth up my street :o) Thanks for this terrific recipe, Pat. It's not even 9am over here and I want this now--LOL! Happy Day, my friend ((HUGS))

lisa said...

wow, i'm kinda sad i didn't come over to eat this when you made looks YUMMY!

Joanne Kennedy said...

Oh yum! Now this is something I would love. I'm going to have to print this out and give it a try. Still have not made the great basil pasta but I plan on it.

Maybe when I get back from my cruise and the days are cooler I'll feel more like cooking.

You always have the best things! I love that you try new things all the time.


Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Oh, this is definitely getting made in the shore house soon. VERY soon. :-)

Thanks for sharing this yummy idea!

nonizamboni said...

Ciao! Thanks for this wonderful recipe. I grew up with an Italian father who swooned at the words polenta and/or gnocci. I'll give this a try for sure.
Lovely blog you have here!

dana said...

YOU just always come up with the most yummy, mouth-watering recipes! Dana

Proud Italian Cook said...

Mmmmm, sort of like a polenta lasagna! That has "comfort food" written all over it! Love your new header, it looks really good. Funny, I just made polenta yesterday with sausage and beans.We're on the same wave length!

Cori G. said...

OOhh! This looks delicious! I may have to try the recipe. It would have been nice if I could have just come to your house and had dinner with you!
XO Cori

Donna said...

Hi Pat,
This looks so yummy! Love the comfort foods!

I've never cooked polenta, but my son-in-law makes it.

An Enchanted Cottage said...

Oh my gosh, Pat - your food photos always make me SOOO hungry! That means two things - you are an awesome cook and you take incredible photos!! Another recipe I will be trying...Donna

Anonymous said...

Hi, just passing through. I made this recipe and loved it, too. Thought your readers might like to know that it works very well with quick grits if you don't have polenta, and is extra good with shredded Italian cheese blend in lieu of regular mozzarella.

LegalBeagle said...

I was googling for a way to use polenta and cauliflower together and stumbled across your blog. I made your dish tonight and it was spectacular! Thanks so much for sharing :)