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Polenta with Fontina and Roasted Vegetables

Bake a pan of polenta until it gets crispy at the edges, and then top it with any vegetables your heart desires. Here, roasted summer vegetables pair with fontina, a mild melting cheese. But this is a fantastic recipe all year long: try it in the fall or winter with butternut squash, mushrooms and Gorgonzola. Serve this dish with a salad of field greens.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil for pans, plus 3 Tbs.
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 small yellow summer squash, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup stone-ground polenta
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 cups shredded fontina cheese

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 450°F. Oil a rimmed baking sheet and an 8-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, red onion and bell pepper. Drizzle with the 3 Tbs. olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast, tossing once, until the vegetables are caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the water to a boil and salt the water. Stirring constantly, very slowly add the polenta. Cook, stirring constantly, until the polenta begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is soft, about 25 minutes. Add the butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano and fontina and stir until the cheeses melt. Pour the polenta into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top.

Transfer to the oven and bake just until the polenta begins to set, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and top evenly with the roasted vegetables. Continue to bake until the vegetables are heated through, about 15 minutes. Serve the polenta directly from the dish. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2012).