Winter Squash Polenta ♥

What a brilliant combination, roasted squash and creamy polenta!

The recipe called for instant polenta but to avoid a grocery run on a stormy day, I made polenta from scratch for the first time! What a breeze. Just cornmeal and water and salt -- and a wooden spoon, for stirring. I checked several techniques, then decided to follow one that took a little longer but required less hands-on time, just a good stir every five minutes. I claim no expertise in polenta but this polenta was easy -easy to make and tasted great.

RECIPE for WINTER SQUASH POLENTA

Hands-on time: sorry, completely lost track on this one, maybe 30 minutes?
Time to table: sorry, this one too
Makes about 4 cups

ROAST SQUASH
2 - 3 pounds winter squash, washed (I used a small butternut and a medium buttercup)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Set oven to 400F. Carefully (so not to lose a finger) cut the squash in half either lengthwise or crosswise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Rub olive oil on the flesh, season with salt and pepper, then place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Place in the oven, even if not fully preheated. Roast until a knife easily inserts into the thickest part of the flesh, about an hour. (If the squash halves are of different thicknesses and varieties and moisture levels, they will likely finish at different times. I set a timer for 30 minutes, then check every 5 - 10 minutes until all the pieces are done. If the squash exudes a lot of liquid, pour it off otherwise it will scorch.) Let cool a bit. Scoop out the flesh and mash with a potato masher or a fork. I used about 3 cups cooked squash, more would be fine, less would make this very much a "starch" versus a "vegetable".

MAKE THE POLENTA & ASSEMBLE
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup coarse stone-ground cornmeal (I love the Bob's variety, often kept with the specialty bread flours)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces fresh Parmesan, grated with ribbon microplane (for larger pieces), some reserved
Salt & pepper

Bring the water to a boil in a medium non-stick saucepan on MEDIUM. Stir in the salt. Slowly stir in the cornmeal with a whisk. Reduce heat to MEDIUM LOW, cover and set timer for 5 minutes. When timer goes off, check to see if it's cooking at a slow simmer, adjust heat accordingly and whisk gently for a minute. Repeat every 5 minutes, adjusting temperature and whisking. When it thickens, uncover and stir for 2 - 3 minutes. Stir in the butter and (most of the) Parmesan and stir til melted and glossy. Stir in the cooked squash and combine well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Transfer to a greased baking dish. [If you're cooking ahead, stop here and refrigerate. Return to room temperature.] Top with reserved Parmesan. Bake at 350F for 60 minutes.

TO PREP AHEAD
TWO OR THREE DAYS BEFORE Roast the squash.
DAY BEFORE Cook the polenta and assemble the dish, then refrigerate.
DAY OF Return to room temperature before baking.

LEFTOVERS To reheat leftovers, just warm in a saucepan.


A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic




OTHER WINTER SQUASH IDEAS for THANKSGIVING
a long-time family favorite
~ Squash Puff ~
squash with some spike
~ Curried Squash ~
for small gatherings
~ Acorn Squash with Quinoa & Cherries ~

2006 collection
~ Thanksgiving vegetable recipes ~




© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006


9 comments:

My granddaughter went to our local farm a few weeks ago and picked out a dozen different winter squash (I think she was looking for pink ones -- her favorite color!). Of course they outlived their usefulness as toys rather quickly, so I've ended up with the entire collection. Now I know what to do with them. Thanks for the recipe.

What a great idea...I've been dying to try to make some polenta!

Lydia ~ Purple potatoes, pink squash, why not?!

Jeff ~ Twas easy!

That looks wonderful. I'm a huge polenta fan. I learned a very easy way to make polenta from an Italian chef. You cook your polenta in a double boiler over boiling water. You rarely have to stir it at all. And it tastes just as good as if you stood there patiently stirring!

Alanna, I've done a winter squash risotto but never a winter squash polenta. I'm going to try this. Great blog!

This sounds wonderful.
Great concept. Can't wait to try it.

Alanna, Did you use Bob's Red Mill corn meal? I love all their products too.

Yummy. I never would have thought of this.

Sher ~ Great tip. I was feeling lazy enough that getting out the double boiler seemed harder than stirring every 5 minutes. Oh dear!

Carla ~ I've yet to make my own risotto! Some day soon!

Faith ~ It's a keeper!

Glenna ~ Probably, I buy Bob's Red Mill products all the time. But I transferred everything to plastic bags a few months ago and didn't keep the label so am not sure.

Peabody ~ It's inspired, no doubt!

Thanks all, for the encouragement!

- AK

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna