Polenta with Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

For me, living soulfully happens most often in my kitchen and sitting around my wide-planked, extra large dining room table. I am happiest tied in an apron, a recipe stirring the imagination, a colorful pastiche of fresh vegetables and herbes at arm’s reach, maybe a roasted chicken in the oven or a pot of pasta on the stovetop, a jug of olive oil and baguette always, sometimes an opened bottle of Burgundy. The sound of laughter and more chairs being pulled up to my table, candles lit, and beloved dogs underfoot is life for me at its very best and most sacred. At our dining room table, we love and include, forgive and bless, grow and evolve, savor and say grace. Joy happens.

 

I cannot boast a Michelin star or gold-sealed diploma from Le Cordon Bleu, but sit at my table and you will taste the love. My claim to fame is that I plate for eight, and often many more every single night (except Friday pizza night!). My recipes are simple, quick, and always with fresh ingredients. Like my father, nothing gives me greater purpose or pleasure than feeding the people I love!

 

Growing up in South Carolina, there was always a pot of buttery grits on the stovetop. On family beach trips to the coast my mom would purchase several pound bags of Charleston’s famous stone ground hominy. It was not until my first trip abroad that I discovered polenta, Italy’s version of our Southern staple. Both are made from ground corn with slightly different textures. Polenta is usually of the yellow variety and traditional grits are made from white hominy. This recipe can be accomplished with both, however, I prefer the heavier textured stone-ground grits for breakfast and the more refined and savory polenta for dinner! As a rule, never buy the polenta in the tube! Or the quick-grits that come in the blue box! This recipe was a gift from a culinary dynamo, friend and the founder of MEEL!

Polenta with Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Polenta
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 3 pints heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp herbs de provence
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup polenta or cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup parmesan grated
  • 2 tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 2-3 cups fresh arugula

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash tomatoes. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil generously over the tomatoes, along with salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence. Roast for 10 minutes or until tomatoes begin to split. Remove from oven and toss with garlic and your chiffonade of basil. 

  2. In a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups water to a brisk boil over medium-high heat. Add salt and while whisking gently, pour the polenta into the boiling water in a steady stream. Turn down the heat to low and continue whisking until the polenta has thickened enough that it doesn't settle back on the bottom of the pan when you stop stirring. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring vigorously every 5 minutes or so, making sure to scrape the sides, bottom, and corners of the pan. The consistency should be that of a softer porridge-like polenta. Add the parmesan and butter.

  3. Top the polenta with your medley of roasted tomatoes, fresh arugula and your choice of crumbled goat cheese or Parmesan. I serve the polenta as a side with either a store-bought rotisserie chicken in a pinch or my stellar Roasted Lemon and Thyme chicken. And a crisp baguette, of course!

  4. Bon Appetit!

Bread and Honey's Blessing of the Week

Bless this table

May the whole of us be nourished

Kindness passed

Laughter abundant

God included

Friendships nourished

Encouragement à plenty

Trespasses forgiven

Hope received for another day

Souls fed

Amen.

Experience a Farmers Market

Living soulfully is about collecting new experiences! Every community, large and small, hosts a weekly farmer’s market. Make it an outing. Bring your children or your cute dog. Taste a slice of a Golden delicious apple and come home with a big, brown sack of them. Buy two bouquets of dahlia’s tied in twine, one for your dinner table, the other, for a friend who needs a lift. Enjoy a homemade loaf of sourdough or a spicy bag of just-picked arugula. If you are in Nashville, meet me at the Tuesday 12th South Market and/or the Saturday Richland Park Market off of Charlotte.

5 Comments
  • Susan

    November 5, 2018 at 2:20 pm Reply

    I love your blessing!❤️

  • Marie

    November 5, 2018 at 3:45 pm Reply

    Yummmmmmm!!! Trying this tonight ! ❤️🌽🥖🍴

  • Jane Clay Meadors

    November 5, 2018 at 1:48 pm Reply

    I am trying it tonight too!

  • Teri Diamond

    November 5, 2018 at 10:30 pm Reply

    Blessthistable.com 🙂

  • Stephanie Bowman

    November 9, 2018 at 4:01 pm Reply

    Yum! Can’t wait to try this recipe! I’ve always roasted tomatoes but did not think to use them to top polenta. Thank you for your passion for community and good food.

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