The base of this dish is creamy, garlicky, tomato-y polenta that is topped with roasted root vegetables. Since polenta requires some stirring and attention to prevent lumps, the vegetables are oven roasted and cook without taking the focus away from the polenta. The notes of tomato, garlic, and oregano create a comforting flavor profile, but we encourage you to play around and switch up the spices. To create a plain polenta base, simply omit the garlic and tomato paste.
For the roasted root vegetables:
½ Local Roots butternut squash, cubed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. oregano
For the tomato garlic polenta:
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. Local Roots unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
½ cup Local Roots polenta
1 ½ cups Local Roots whole milk
1 ½ cups water
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel all the root vegetables and remove any stems and cores. Roughly chop into ½-1” chunks and place chopped vegetables onto a baking sheet. Mince garlic cloves and set aside.
2. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. olive oil over the root vegetables and sprinkle over seasonings and salt. Use hands to toss the vegetables in oil and seasonings until evenly coated, then bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. The vegetables are ready when they are fork tender.
3. While the vegetables are roasting, start the polenta. In a medium-sized pot, melt 1 Tbsp. of butter and sauté the minced garlic and tomato paste on low-medium until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add in the ½ cup of polenta and then the salt, milk, and water.
4. Increase the heat to medium. Stir frequently to prevent lumps from forming, and use a whisk to break up any lumps if they do happen. Keep stirring every few minutes until the polenta is smooth and creamy and the texture is not gritty. This should take around 30 minutes, and you can try a spoonful to see if the polenta grains are tender and not crunchy. When the polenta is smooth and thickening, turn off the heat and stir periodically. If the polenta thickens too much, add hot water a splash at a time and whisk.
5. The polenta and roasted vegetables should be ready at a similar time. Plate by spooning the polenta into a shallow bowl and top with the roasted root vegetables. Enjoy!
Recipe by Local Roots contributor Irena Huang / @irena__huang
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