On a chilly afternoon, a plate heaped with roasted vegetables sounded comforting and nourishing. I had on hand carrots, remnants of two bell peppers, asparagus, half an onion, broccoli and one zucchini. If it were just me, that would have been a perfect meal. I knew the husband would insist on something more substantial, so I came up with this easy lunch to satisfy us both. The colors and flavors of everything on the plate were gorgeous. The peppers were bursting with flavor, the asparagus was nutty. The onions were the best part, sweet, juicy and lightly caramelized. This lunch was light in my belly, but stuck to my ribs.
Heat the oven to 375. Choose whatever roasting vegetables you prefer and cut them into large pieces. Garlic and eggplant would be lovely. Keep the root end of onions intact so the pieces stay together. Use enough veggies to cover an entire cookie sheet, you’ll want every delicious bite. Place everything in a large bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of olive oil to coat, then spread in an even layer on a cookie sheet and season generously with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until the veggies are as tender as you like them, but not browned.
Meanwhile, prepare polenta according to the directions on the package. It is usually made in a double boiler or in a pan placed in simmering water, and stirred constantly for 20 minutes. The superior silky texture is definitely worth the effort, but, and I may be committing heresy here, polenta tastes good when cooked directly over a low flame and is ready in half the time. The result will be more like corn meal mush, a childhood favorite of mine. The quick method risks are lumps and scorching, so choose accordingly. I used chicken stock instead of water for more flavor, then added cream and parmesan to finish. Serve veggies on a bed of polenta, top with more parmesan and a drizzling of really good, aged balsamic vinegar if you have it.