A recipe to use summer garden harvests of zucchini and basil. At some point over the summer period it is common to have a pile of zucchini lined up on the kitchen bench and no inspiration to be found anywhere. This was my situation last week. While I was wracking my brain for a new recipe idea I recalled a conversation with a friend’s partner. I had served baked polenta fries to go with dinner and she told me her mum makes slices and fills them with vegetables. At the time I tucked it away in my mind to recall as I loved the sound of it. It was that comment that inspired this dish.
Most gardeners have their favourite version of basil pesto that makes it way onto the meal table at this time of year. Polenta absorbs a great deal of liquid and flavour so it may seem like you are adding a lot of pesto, and you are! It does make a large serving that will serve many people, or last for a few meals.
This baked polenta was served with chicken for our dinner, it would pair equally well with fish or on it’s own to fill a lunch box. The kids didn’t love this dish although they did eat it. In saying that they also are not huge fans of polenta fries, something I struggle to understand!
The included flavours are not ones the kids would normally object to.
This is my recipe for baked polenta made with pesto and zucchini. I hope that you love it.
- 1 small zucchini peeled and grated
- ½ capsicum chopped finely
- Basil Pesto:
- a large bunch of fresh basil leaves
- 2 stems of parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ cup parmesan
- pinch salt
- 1 garlic clove
- 4 and ½ cups water
- 1 and ½ cups fine polenta
- ½ tablespoon butter
- Prepare a slice try by lining it with baking paper - leave longer edges hanging over as you will use them to hold and lift out of the pan when the polenta has set in it (read on)
- Prepare the filling ingredients and set aside
- Make the basil pesto by adding all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse to combine well.
- Add the water to a saucepan and bring to the boil
- When the water has started to boil pour in the polenta in a steady stream, whisking or stirring well as you do so.
- Continue to stir - the polenta with thicken as you do this. Continue stirring continuously
- Once the polenta starts to move off the side of the saucepan add the butter and stir again. Continue stirring and add the pesto with MORE STIRRING.
- Once the polenta is looking reasonably smooth and is coming away from the edges of the pan remove it from the heat and stir in the filling until well combined
- Pour or scoop the polenta into the lined slice tray, use a spatula to evenly spread it out.
- Add to the fridge to set for at least one hour
- Prior to removing from the fridge set the oven to 160 degrees celcius to heat
- Remove the polenta from the fridge and lift the set polenta out of the tray by the paper.
- Slice into the desired size and add to a baking tray and place into the oven
- Cook for 25 minutes
- Remove and sprinkle with fresh parmesan and fresh basil leaves
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