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How to cook with Polenta

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The Cooking Cardiologist Dr. Richard Collins shows us how to make a Polenta with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto.

Polenta is an Italian dish derived from cornmeal. It can be served soft as a mush or firm, grill roasted. Usually it is thickened with cheese, Parmesan or gorgonzola, and butter. The secret to smooth polenta is in the attention to stirring on the stovetop. Polenta is usually accompanied with a tomato topping. It can be served as a side dish, first course or even for breakfast like grits, a southern American corn dish.

For the polenta:

4 cups vegetable broth, No Chicken® Broth is best.

2 cups water

2 cups cornmeal

2 T plant stanol/sterol margarine

½ t garlic powder

Dash of fresh ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese

For the tomato pesto sauce:

1 cup softened sun-dried tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

½ cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup fresh chopped basil

½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded

In a large saucepan, add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Gradually stir in the cornmeal. Reduce heat. Stir frequently to thicken and avoid a lumpy polenta. Add the margarine, garlic and nutmeg. Add seasoning to taste. Continue cooking until thickened. Cool and place in an oil sprayed 10x15” baking sheet pan. Refrigerate. When firm, cut into various shapes using a cookie cutter. 3” size hearts are perfect for this heart healthy polenta. Place on grill. Grill for 5-10 minutes to sear the polenta. For the pesto, place all ingredients into a blender or small food processor, process until smooth. Before serving, warm the pesto sauce. Add a shaving of Parmesan cheese.

Serves 10. Serving size: 3” square polenta with 2 T sauce

Nutritional analysis: Calories 192, fat 6.6 g, carbohydrates 29 g, protein 4.2 g.