Soft Polenta Primavera (Polenta with Spring Vegetables)
Here is a twist on the traditional pasta primavera. Same topping, finished with cream is served on top of a bowl of steamy, creamy polenta. A few shavings of Parmesan or pecorino finish this up nicely. Polenta is so easy to prepare and so versatile, I am surprised it hasn’t caught on more in every day cooking here.
4 cups water
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
A small bunch asparagus, thin spears
1 cup snap peas
1 cup fresh peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup cream
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chervil, fresh
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
Cut asparagus and snap peas into diagonal pieces. Set aside.
Prepare a bowl full with ice water. You will plunge these vegetables into the ice water to stop their cooking so it is important to have it ready in advance.
Bring water and salt to a boil. Once boiled pour in cornmeal in a steady drizzle, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, cover and continue to cook, about 15 minutes until polenta is cooked through. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and cheese.
While polenta is cooking bring another pot of water to a boil and add the vegetables. Cook for a couple of minutes, until their colour is bright green and they have softened just a bit. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge the vegetables into the ice water in the prepared bowl. This will stop their cooking and preserve the bright green colour. When the vegetables are cold drain and pat dry.
Heat cream with one whole clove of garlic and tarragon leaves in a skillet large enough to hold the vegetables. When the cream has thickened a bit add the vegetables, salt and pepper and toss to coat everything with the cream. Cook just until the cream is slightly thickened. Add the cheese last and mix gently.
When polenta is ready spoon into serving bowls, top with the creamed vegetables and spoon additional cream around. Serve with grated Parmesan.