It's comforting, it's creamy (yet totally cream free), it gives you a warm hug and still bursts with summer flavours! This creamy Polenta with roasted bell peppers is a keeper ;-).
While summer still shines as bright as it could a couple of stormy and rainy hours got me craving comfort food as of lately. But not too hearty or heavy, just something light and comfortable. After a short chat and check-up with both the refrigerator and our cupboard I settled on using one of my favourite sides: polenta (a coarse kind of cornmeal) cooked in milk and then topped with a vegetable mix, which is heavy on ripe (red) bell peppers - toasted walnuts add a little autumn-y touch while green thyme reminds me of long summer evenings. In the end my cravings were covered and the leftovers taste great the next day as well! Another plus point: it's rather quick and you can work on something else while the veggies are roasting in the oven - a win for midweek-dinners. So enjoy the last weeks of summer!
- serves 2
- 2 bell peppers (I used red ones, but you can use whichever you have on hand/prefer)
- 1 small zucchini
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup dry polenta
- 200 ml milk
- 200 ml water
- 1 medium sized tomato
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- loose handful of thyme (fresh), plus extra for garnish
- loose handful of chopped walnuts
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat your oven to 220°C/440°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil, drizzle with one tablespoon of the olive oil. Halve and deseed the bell peppers, slice the zucchini. Arrange the bell pepper halves cut-side-down onto the baking sheet as well as the zucchini slices. Drizzle the zucchini with an additional tablespoon of olive oil then add salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn the zucchini slices and roast for a further 10-15 minutes until vegetables are fork tender. Remove and put the bell pepper halves in a heat proof bowl and cover with a lid. The kept steam will allow for easy peeling later on.
2. Meanwhile prepare the polenta with the mixed milk and water according to package directions.
3. Now peel the bell peppers, discarding the peel and slicing both, the peppers and the zucchini into small pieces. Set a pan on medium high heat and toast the chopped walnuts until just browned. Meanwhile cut the tomato into cubes. Remove the nuts from the pan, then add in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and fry the tomato until just soft, then add in the tomato paste along with the pepper and zucchini pieces, stir well and add in salt and pepper to taste.
4. Divide the cooked polenta into two bowls or on two plates, then spoon the roasted vegetables on top. Sprinkle with the roasted walnuts and garnish with some fresh thyme - serve and enjoy!