Before Marco Polo introduced noodles to Italy from the far east, the primary food staple of the Roman Legions was polenta. This particular recipe from MSN food and drink found its way across my desktop news feed where it caught my interest.
Cheezy Pesto Grits
- 1/2 (2 lb) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup cornmeal or instant polenta
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and black pepper
- steamed baby broccoli, to serve
Place the squash in a roasting pan and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Place in a preheated oven, at 400°F, for 20–22 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a skillet, add the onion and sage, and season with salt and black pepper, then cook over low heat for 16–18 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden.
In a separate saucepan, bring the water to a boil, then add the cornmeal or polenta in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Simmer over low heat for 10–12 minutes, until bubbling and cooked.
Remove the squash from the oven, add the pine nuts, and coarsely mash with a fork. Stir the butter, pesto, cheese, onions, and squash into the grits, then serve with broccoli.