Soft Polenta with Spicy Tomato Sauce


Polenta should be served soft from the pot, or chilled and then pan-fried. Wild mushrooms, cheese, fresh herbs, and olives are good additions to this grain. If you can get a hold of it, try ricotta salata in place of the Parmesan cheese. If you don't want to use quinoa, you can simply use an equivalent amount of cornmeal in its place.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
4 servings


  • 1 quart water

  • ½ cup stone ground cornmeal

  • ½ cup quinoa

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cups minced onion

  • 1 large portobello mushroom, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes

  • ¼ cup sherry

  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (Optional)

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 3 cups chopped green onions

  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese


  1. In a small bowl whisk together 2 cups water with the cornmeal, quinoa and salt. Bring the remaining 2 cups water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Stir the cornmeal mixture into the boiling water, and continue stirring. Be careful! The polenta may spit and sputter and the hot bits of polenta can burn. Turn the heat to very low and cook the polenta for 40 minutes; stirring with a wooden spoon every 10 minutes.

  2. Make the tomato sauce while the polenta cooks: Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onions. Cook the onions for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until they have softened. Stir in the chopped mushrooms and the garlic, saute for 5 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, sherry, chili flakes and oregano. When the sauce comes to a boil turn the heat to low. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

  3. When the polenta has cooked for 40 minutes, sprinkle the green onions and grated cheese into the polenta. Stir well. Mound the polenta on plates, make a well in the center of each mound and ladle in the tomato sauce. Garnish with the shaved cheese.

Cook's Notes:

Look for coarse-ground organic yellow cornmeal. If you don't have quinoa, you can use 1/2 cup more cornmeal to make the polenta.

Try adding ricotta salata cheese to the polenta in place of the grated Parmesan.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

395 Calories
14g Fat
57g Carbs
15g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 395
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 1090mg 47%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 38mg 188%
Calcium 341mg 26%
Iron 6mg 34%
Potassium 1101mg 23%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.