Baked Polenta with Veggie Ragout

Polenta is another one of those amazing, adaptable comfort foods.  Polenta is a food that is easily paired with other foods.  Its mild flavor and variety of textures lends itself well to dishes like ragouts to poached eggs.  As far as how to prepare polenta, the possibilities are endless, you can make soft polenta, baked polenta, fried polenta, grilled polenta, polenta fries….
Start with 1 cup of cornmeal.  
Mix in 1 cup of cold water.  Whisk thoroughly. 
Mix cornmeal and water mixture into 2-1/4 cups boiling water.  Stir constantly and bring the water back to a boil. 
Turn heat to low, cook 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture is very thick, stirring occasionally.  Keep that lid handy, you may have spurts of hot cornmeal leaping out at you!
Pour the hot mixture into a 9-inch pie pan.  Spread into an even layer.  Cool.  Chill in refrigerator for 30  minutes to overnight.  This step is important if you plan to bake, grill, fry, or cut the polenta at all, as it will firm the polenta so you are able to work with it.  I find that the perfect chilling time is around 3 hours.  

Bake polenta, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until hot.  

I cut the polenta into wedges and served them with a simple ragout.  
Saute 1/2 of an onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat.  
Add 2 tomatoes, 1 small can of tomato sauce, 1 diced zucchini, fresh thyme, oregano, basil, and 1 bag of Gardein Beefeless Tips.  Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes or til soft and tasty smelling.  🙂

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