Sundried Tomato and Basil Pesto with Polenta

Can you believe it’s the end of summer already? When did that happen?

This is my first week of school in junior year! I really can’t believe I’m an upperclassman, and it’s super weird seeing my freshman sister all over the school.

School is CRAZY. 3 APs, 2 Honors, Orchestra, and Oil Painting. It’s the second day of school and I’ve already written 2 essays and had a socratic seminar. I’m definitely a little scared to see what’s coming in 1st period calculus tomorrow.

On the baking front, we STILL have no oven, so my mother is calling the local appliance store every day until they help us. I *think* they’re coming Friday. Funny how they sped up the piece’s arrival date one we said we were thinking about ordering it from somewhere else. Hmmm…

However, in my last days of summer joy, I cooked up some seriously yummy stuff, sans oven.

Pesto is one of my very favorite summer foods. However, my dad is allergic to most kinds of cheese (mozzarella excluded, thank goodness for our pizza loving family). The minute I saw this CHEESE-FREE pesto recipe from Oh She Glows, I knew I had to make it. Of course, you can add cheese in if you want, but it’s a great recipe for people who are lactose intolerant – or who just don’t like cheese!

Instead of using pasta as the base, I decided to use polenta. It’s a thick, creamy Italian dish made from cornmeal, and it’s just as easy to make as pasta.  It can be somewhat bland without anything added it, but I was pleasantly surprised how awesome it tasted with the pesto!

While I wouldn’t recommend taking this for lunch (polenta is seriously nasty when it’s cold), it definitely makes a great dinner! However, the pesto can be stirred into some pasta for a perfect back to school lunch. Goodbye leftovers!

P.S…Check out this snazzy new header, designed and hand drawn by yours truly!

 Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Polenta

Polenta from Food, Pesto adapted from Oh She Glows

For the Pesto:

2 garlic cloves

1/2 packed full of fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

55 grams of oil-packed sundried tomatoes (use a scale to measure, otherwise about 7)

6 tbsp of water

4 tbsp of toasted walnuts

Salt and Pepper, to taste

In a food processor running on low, add the garlic cloves to mince. Drop in the basil to process until finely chopped. With the machine running, pour in the olive oil, tomatos, and water. Process until mostly smooth.

Pulse in the walnuts to desired chunkiness. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and begin the polenta.

For the Polenta:

6 cups of water

2 teaspoons of salt

1 3/4 cups of yellow cornmeal

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the salt, then gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture becomes thickened and tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, then add the butter and stir until melted.

Place a portion of the polenta into a bowl or plate. Add a spoonful of pesto (I like to stir it in), then serve warm. Delish!

Happy dinner/lunch/back to school 🙂




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