Polenta, in my opinion is absolutely under used. Polenta is simply an Italian cornmeal dish. It can be made creamy, like this Chicken Meatball Marsala over Creamy Polenta or as I did here where it is baked after a quick cook on the stovetop. These Polenta Squares with Ricotta & Basil Pesto have a little bit of everything. The polenta squares are creamy on the inside with a slightly crunchy exterior topped with creamy ricotta and fresh garlicky basil pesto. Whether serving these as an hors d’oeuvre or a side dish, these will be a hit!
Quick cooking polenta can be found right in your regular grocery store and it is so simple to make! Simply bring vegetable broth or water seasoned with salt and pepper up to a boil, whisk in the polenta until smooth. Shut the heat, stir an additional couple minutes then pour evenly onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Pop into the fridge to allow the polenta to set, about 20-30 minutes. Once completely cooled you can easily cut into squares. Baked until just slightly golden and crisp.
The ricotta is just lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. The pesto, oh my! I’ve got a big ole pot of basil growing out back and love making pesto! Its great in a sandwich, as a pasta sauce, over a chicken cutlet or on a crostini. So many uses, all delicious! While basil is in season locally, use it, nothing like fresh basil!
- 2- 32 oz containers vegetable broth
- salt & pepper
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 16 oz pkg quick cooking polenta
- 3 handfuls of basil leaves
- 1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup unsalted almonds
- approx 1/4 cup olive oil
- Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Lower the heat down all the way and whisk in the polenta. Shut the heat, add the butter and continue to stir for 2 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment and pour the hot polenta onto the pan. Smooth it out until relatively even.
- Pop the pan into the fridge for about 20-30 minutes or until completely cooled.
- You can make the pesto while you wait. Add the garlic and almonds to a food processor, give a few pulses to get a rough chop. Add in the basil and with the processor running, stream in the olive oil. Once well combined stir in the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cut the polenta into 1 inch squares. Back onto the baking sheet with a bit of space between the squares.
- Bake in a 385 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes or until just slightly golden on the exterior.
- Top each square with a little bit of ricotta seasoned with salt and pepper and a bit of that beautiful pesto.
Do you have a meal pairing idea that these would be good for?
Such a great question! A grilled steak or Roasted chicken along with a simple salad would go great with these polenta squares.
These look so yummy! I love basil pesto.
Thanks so much! Pesto is such a great way to use fresh basil! Lasts a good while in the fridge & adds so much flavor!
Happy Valley Chow
I looovvee polenta and this recipe sounds absolutely delicious! Fantastic job 🙂
Happy Valley Chow
You’re very kind, thank you!!! I love polenta too and definitely don’t make it often enough!
Annamaria @ Bakewell Junction
Thanks for linking up to #GetHimFed last week. I’m featuring your post on #GetHimFed No. 44. Can’t wait to see what you bring this week. We party from early Friday morning through Sunday night every week. I’ve also pinned to our #GetHimFed Pinterest board.
Wow!!!! Thank you, I’m honored! I’ll definitely be stopping by to check out all the other great posts! Thanks so much for hosting every week!
Hey there. About how many does this recipe make?
Hi! I feel terrible but I cant remember the number it was so long ago. I will say that you can adjust the size of the squares to get more or less. So sorry about this- this one is from when I first started blogging.