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Top creamy polenta with spring vegetables

By Emily Ho
TheKitchn.com

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  • Polenta With Spring Vegetable Ragout

    Polenta:

    4 cups light vegetable broth or water

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal

    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

    Ragout:

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    1 garlic clove, minced

    1 bunch green onions, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces

    8 baby carrots (about 4 ounces), trimmed and cut in half lengthwise

    6 radishes (about 4 ounces), trimmed and cut into quarters

    1/2 cup light vegetable broth or water

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    8 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 2- to 3-inch pieces

    8 ounces shelled peas (fresh or frozen)

    1 tablespoon each coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, chives and tarragon

    1 teaspoon lemon zest

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Additional olive oil and herbs for garnish

    POLENTA: Bring the vegetable broth or water to a boil in a 2- to 3-quart pot over medium heat. Add the salt, then slowly whisk in the polenta. Reduce heat to low and continue whisking until the polenta is thickened. Cover the pot and continue cooking. Every 10 minutes, stir the polenta vigorously, scraping the sides of the pan. Continue cooking for 30-40 minutes, until polenta reaches desired thickness and creaminess. Stir in the olive oil. Serve within 15 minutes.

    RAGOUT: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about a minute until fragrant. Add the green onions, carrots, radishes, vegetable broth or water, and salt. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and peas, cover, and cook for 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat, stir in the herbs and lemon zest, and season to taste.

    TO SERVE, spoon the polenta into a shallow serving bowl or individual bowls. Make a well in the center of the polenta and spoon the ragout on top. Drizzle a little olive oil on top and garnish with herbs.

    NOTES: For a non-vegan version, stir 1-2 tablespoons of butter and/or 1 cup of cheese into the finished polenta. You could also stir 1-2 tablespoons of butter into the finished ragout.

    YIELD: 4 servings.



The first few times I cooked polenta, I followed recipes that called for endless stirring. As much as I enjoyed the result, I wasn’t keen on making polenta very often. All that changed when I tried this technique, which requires much less stirring but still produces a luscious and comforting polenta.

It’s also sufficiently hands-off and stress-free that you can easily prepare an accompanying dish, such as this spring vegetable ragout, while it cooks.

The word “ragout” often brings to mind a dish that’s stewy and heavy. But this is a ragout for spring – light, fresh, and colorful. A medley of new vegetables and herbs makes a lovely topping for heartier polenta, and you can serve it as a vegetarian (and gluten-free) main dish, or as a side dish for a larger meal. In the recipe, I stuck to fairly accessible vegetables like asparagus, carrots, radishes and peas (I even used frozen), but feel free to incorporate other seasonal vegetables such as fava beans, baby artichokes, ramps or whatever grows near you.

Emily Ho is a writer for TheKitchn.com, a national known blog food and home cooking.
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