Oven Roasted Vegetables and Polenta

For root vegetables in winter:
2 parsnips, peeled and quartered lengthways
2 sweet potatoes, peeled, sliced 1½cm chunks
2 large carrots, peeled and quartered lengthways
2 beets, peeled and quartered
2 red onions, peeled and quartered
fresh thyme
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For summer roasted vegetables:
1 eggplant, quartered
2 zucchini, 1 1/2 inch chunks
2 yellow peppers, seeded and quartered
2 bunches tomatoes on the vine
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
fresh basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Polenta cake
5 ounces polenta
1 3/4 to 2 1/2 cups water
4 ounces parmesan cheese
good amount of salt

Preheat oven temperature to 400F.

Put all root vegetables into a dish, season well, add reasonable amount of thyme left on the sprig (easier to remove before presenting), mix together balsamic vinegar and oil, marinade vegetables for 3/4-1 hour before cooking. If using summer vegetables, place vegetables in dish, make marinade with basil, garlic, vinegar and oil and pour over the top. Marinaded vegetables are best left out of the refrigerator to bring out flavours while preparing polenta.

Put polenta into a heavy based pan, add salt and water, bring to the boil, stirring all the time. When boiling, put on lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may need to add more water - it should be thick but not dry. After 15 minutes remove from heat, add cheese and turn into a lightly olive oiled baking dish. Leave to cool. When cool, put in refrigerator covered. Best done day before for at least 5 or 6 hours for polenta to firm up and set.

Put root vegetables into a wide baking tray so that the vegetables are not touching, put into a hot oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until just cooked. If using summer vegetables the same applies but they may not need to be cooked for quite so long.

Meanwhile with a circle cutter approximately 2 1/2 inches across, cut out polenta shapes, fry in shallow olive oil or griddle until golden brown, drain well.

Serve with roasted vegetables and juices or with garden salad.

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