Creamy, buttery polenta, topped with a chunky vegetable sauce and melted mozzarella cheese, makes for a great vegetarian meal. A quick sauce is made by simmering a can of crushed tomatoes with fresh oregano and sautéed onions, peppers, and zucchini. There are a few steps, so multi-task: pulse-chop the veggies in the food processor and bake the polenta while the sauce cooks. Chill some white wine or rose and serve yourself a huge heaping because this is decadently divine. For the recipe to your Thursday night dinner,
Baked Polenta with Zucchini and Tomato-Pepper Sauce
From Sunset magazine
5 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 small zucchini, stemmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-in.-thick half-moons
1 medium yellow onion, halved lengthwise, then cut into thin wedges
1 medium yellow, red, or orange bell pepper, cut lengthwise into thin slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon each salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red chile flakes
2 tubes (16 oz. each) prepared polenta, sliced into 1/2-in.-thick rounds
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced into 1/4-in.-thick rounds
- Preheat broiler to high. Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a 2- to 3-qt. saucepan set over medium heat, then add tomatoes and oregano and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, and chile flakes, and stir to combine. Cover pan, lower heat to medium, and cook until vegetables soften, about 10 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce and simmer 10 minutes.
- While sauce is cooking, pour remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. oil into a 9- by 13-in. baking pan and tilt to coat bottom. Add polenta slices to pan and turn to coat with oil, then arrange slices lengthwise in 3 slightly overlapping rows. Broil polenta about 4 in. from heating element until golden brown and crispy, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pour sauce over broiled polenta, then arrange mozzarella slices over the top. Broil until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
Nutritional Information: CALORIES 385(51% from fat); FAT 22g (sat 7.7g); PROTEIN 13g; CHOLESTEROL 33mg; SODIUM 831mg; FIBER 4.6g; CARBOHYDRATE 32g