Gluten Free, Sides, Vegetarian

Baked Cheesy Polenta with Roasted Red Peppers and Onions

Do you ever have those days where you spend all day baking and cooking in the kitchen, and never want it to end? Well, I had one of the experiences the other day with a very good friend of mine, Jil.

Jil is one of the main reasons I started blogging and creating recipes about 6 or 7 years ago. We were in college at the time, and her and I would cook dinner for ourselves in my apartment on Beacon Hill. It’s so nice to have a friend that loves food as much as you and totally understands why you cried because you’ve messed up making macarons for the 3rd time…(4th time was the charm.) Someone you can turn to and say, “do you think I need more cheese?” “how long do you think this should cook?” “do you think this is done?”

In this recipe, Jil was in charge of the polenta, so all of the credit goes to her! It makes the perfect side or main dish, and would even be delicious topped with braised pork or lamb, yum!

Baked Cheesy Polenta with Roasted Red Peppers and Onions

Serves about 6-8 people

  • 2 large red peppers
  • 2 small or 1 large yellow onion
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon ground black pepper
  • ⅓ grated parmesan cheese

Polenta

  • 7 cups water
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter room temperature
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and cut both red peppers and onion into slices, and put into a bowl. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and toss until evenly coated. Put onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. (If the baking sheet you’re using is small, split vegetables onto two baking sheets so they cook and roast evenly. If they are too close together, they will steam instead of roast.) Put into the oven for about 25-30 minutes – or until peppers and onions are soft and slightly charred. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. To make the polenta, bring 7 cups of water to a boil. Add 2 cups of cornmeal and salt, and whisk until combined. Reduce heat to medium-low, add butter and whisk for another 4-5 minutes until smooth.
  3. Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Spray cask iron pan or baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add half amount of polenta on bottom and top with half the amount of caramelized peppers and onions and ⅓ parmesan cheese. Cover with remaining polenta and top with the rest of the peppers and onions. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

If you’re lucky enough to have some polenta leftover, enjoy it the next morning heated up in a pan with a fried egg on top. Nothing is better than a runny yolk and cheesy polenta. 

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