I have the great blessing of knowing many people who are generous with their beautiful, bountiful vegetable gardens. I have absolutely no green thumb myself, and little room to grow a garden in our current yard, so it is a huge privilege to be able to go “shopping” in the gardens of my friends and family members. I’ve cooked with baby beets, carrots, radishes, lettuce, kale, the cutest little peppers, and other delicacies this summer, all from the generosity of others. This week I found myself in the enviable position of having a crisper drawer full of a surplus of fresh vegetables. I certainly didn’t want any of these delicacies to go to waste, but how to make use of all this deliciousness while it was still fresh? I decided to roast a big pan of veggies for lunch one day and a quick dig through my panty found a little bit of polenta that needed to be used up. The result was a pan full of fresh, roasted veggies seasoned with a light sprinkling of smoked paprika to counter the sweetness of the fresh vegetables, all served over a pool of creamy, herbed polenta. It was a delicious, hearty vegetarian meal bursting with flavor that made good use of all the odds and ends of vegetables I had lying around. You can really use any vegetables in this recipe, just keep in mind that more tender vegetables (green beans, asparagus, peas, etc.) need less time roasting than root vegetables. I usually just toss the more tender veggies on the pan for the last few minutes of roasting.
- 2 pounds mixed vegetables, cut into approximately 2-inch pieces
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup uncooked stoneground Polenta
- 2 Tablespoons fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used parsley, oregano and thyme)
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika on a large sheet pan. If using any tender vegetables (usually non-root vegetables such as green beans or asparagus), set those aside until later in the cooking. Roast vegetables for about 15 minutes, tossing a few times during cooking, until they are tender and just beginning to brown. Add the more tender vegetables during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove roasted vegetables from the oven and toss in the fresh thyme.
- Meanwhile, prepare the polenta. In a medium saucepan, stir together the broth, polenta, herbs and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the polenta is tender and has thickened to a stiff, pudding-like consistency. Add extra broth as needed to reach the consistency that you like. Remove polenta from the the heat and stir in the cheese.
- To serve, spoon 1/2 cup polenta into a bowl or onto a plate and top with 1/4 of the roasted vegetables. Sprinkle extra parmesan and fresh herbs on top, if desired, for garnish.