Grilled Polenta with Blistered Snow Peas & Bok Choy

This is the recipe I wrote for the Sunday meal at Rancho La Puerta during my week as visiting chef. Originally, I’d planned on serving the polenta with slender spears of broccolini, but we had a giant box of snow peas and beautiful bok choy fresh from the garden, so Chef Eddy and I changed it up a bit. I love searing squares of this polenta in some hot olive oil—or charring it on the grill as I do here—and serving it with just about anything: An egg and some greens in the morning, a mushroom ragu or tomato sauce at night. It’s super versatile and a great thing to have in the fridge for easy meals throughout the week.


Amaranth “Polenta” with Goat Cheese

Amaranth is a gluten-free grain with an inherently gelatinous quality that makes it a good substitute for polenta in this simple side dish. It’s delicious with just about anything, from poultry to grilled shrimp to our luscious Short Rib and Cremini Ragu. You can change up this basic recipe in any number of ways: experiment with different cheeses and herbs, stir in sun-dried tomatoes, sauteed spinach or peas…use whatever goodies you have on hand!


Our Autumn in Italy Menu

Making your menu plans for the upcoming weekend? We’ve pulled together a great Italian-flavored repast that will take the chill off a nippy fall evening:

NOURISH Evolution’s Autumn in Italy Menu

To start:

Whip up a batch of our uber-easy Go-To Vinaigrette and toss with fresh arugula. Add a little shaving of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and the salad is ready! (Double the vinaigrette so you’ll have extra to dress salads next week.)

Main event:

I made Ginny’s fabulous Short Rib and Cremini Ragu last Sunday, and it’s already a fave in our household. Super flavor and falling-off-the-bone tender meat make this a fall classic. Serve it over Lia’s Creamy Corn Polenta…mmmm!

On the side:

Spicy Sauteed Rainbow Chard with Golden Raisins is a speedy, colorful side that will round out the plate.

For dessert:

This is a substantial meal, so you don’t want anything too heavy for dessert. Jackie’s Chocolate Orange Pistachio Biscotti are a just-right sweet finish.

To pour:

An Italian red is the way to go here. Try a Chianti, Barbera or Sangiovese, which will be delicious in the short ribs and with them.

Oven-Baked Polenta with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Years ago, during a class at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, I made a polenta recipe by Gary Danko that cooked–fuss-free–in the oven. I adopted it and have never looked back (or slaved over another pot of polenta). This one incorporates No Work Slow Roasted Tomatoes (which live in my freezer over the winter). Go for good-quality polenta instead of the instant variety; the texture and taste will be immeasurably better (and there’s no stirring for you anyway!).