Roasted Vegetables and Cheesy Polenta

Roasted vegetables are my jam. We’re considering a CSA when we get back just so I have an excuse to roast vegetables. I love an excuse to roast vegetables. Have you ever tried to hack your way into a butternut squash? I feel like I’ve tried it once before, but blocked it from memory because it was a whole level of difficult that I didn’t want to remember. From here on out it’s either frozen or the pre-cut fresh stuff from the store. I can’t be bothered to wield a knife. I’m sure it tastes better on some level, but it just shouldn’t be so hard to do. My upper body strength is nearly nonexistent and I’m reminded of that if I even attempt to do this the hard way.

Polenta isn’t something I always have on hand, but I inevitably buy some and it’s more than a recipe calls for so then I have some on hand. I didn’t quite have enough to make the full cup this recipe requires so I supplemented it with some of that freshly milled cornmeal from the cornbread recipe. I’m convinced it provided an extra fresh corn taste that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. It was also creamier thanks to that extra bit of flour.

Stuff in bowls is just about as much of a blank canvas as it can get. Feel free to add in or change out any vegetables that are speaking to you. You may have to vary your roasting time, but you already have a good 40 minutes because of the polenta. I’m pretty sure you can roast just about anything in that time, especially if you’ve taken the time to cut the pieces smaller and in equal size. There is something about brussels┬ásprouts though that they always consistently get a good char on those outer leaves.

Inspiration: William Sonoma

Ingredients

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3/4lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed [I cheated and got the pre-cut stuff at the store–thanks, New Seasons!]
  • 1/2lb brussels sprouts cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3oz shredded fontina cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring 5 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Stir in the polenta and let the mixture return to a boil. Lower the heat to low and stir often until the polenta is soft and smooth. It should take about 40 minutes assuming you didn’t get the quick-cooking variety.

In a bowl, toss the squash and brussels sprouts together with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast them in the oven until they’re golden brown–20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Once the polenta is soft and smooth, stir in the butter and cheeses until melted. Taste for salt and pepper. I love me some pepper. Serve in bowls and top with roasted vegetables and parsley. Try not to eat all of the vegetables in one sitting.