I recently made polenta for my fiance for the first time a few weeks back and to say he enjoyed it would be a total understatement.
He’s not a picky eater, but can be pretty indulgent when it comes to cream, cheese, butter… you know- all that delicious stuff that is not good for you. Weird thing is he doesn’t really like carby foods. We almost never eat potatoes or fries, he’s not really interested in a big plate of pasta, and doesn’t really care for rice.
Which is kind of nice because when we do a big, juicy steak we’ll do a salad side or when I make a batch of spicy Italian meatballs that are full of cheese we’ll throw them on top of some zucchini noodles.
I’d prefer the pasta and the mashed potatoes, but it’s a good balance.
So I wasn’t really sure where polenta would land. We had some leftover bolognese sauce, so for a quick dinner I thought I’d make some polenta with a fair amount of cheese, a little cream, and a bit of butter. Top that with the homemade bolognese and he was in heaven.
Polenta is super filling, so a little goes a long way, and that’s the same for this pecorino polenta with roasted brussels sprouts. I wanted to top this polenta with something that was a little less heavy, plus when isn’t oven roasted brussels sprouts and bacon not good?!
A little word of warning – be very careful when adding the pecorino cheese. Pecorino is very salty in nature, so if you go overboard, you’re polenta will taste like a salt lick (believe me -this is from experience). I used low sodium chicken broth and was very careful when seasoning the brussels sprouts because bacon can also be on the salty side (the second time around).
Total comfort food!
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the core
- 6 slices of thick cut bacon, diced
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar (see note)
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- ¾ cup polenta or corn grits
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- ¼ cup Pecorino cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the brussels sprouts on a baking sheet, including the loose leaves. They get nice and crispy when they're roasted.
- Sprinkle the chopped bacon and black pepper over top, sprinkle together, and spread out into a single layer.
- Roast the brussels sprouts until they're tender and nicely browned and the bacon has crisped up. About 20 to 30 minutes.
- You'll want to toss the brussels sprouts while roasted. I did about 5 minutes in, once some of the fat has rendered. And then toss about halfway through.
- While brussels sprouts are cooking, in a large saucepan, combine chicken broth and pepper to a boil.
- While whisking, slowly add the polenta.
- Reduce heat to medium low and cook, whisking often until the polenta becomes thick. This should take 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in Pecorino and butter.
- Plate polenta and top with roasted brussels sprouts. Drizzle with syrupy balsamic vinegar.