Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Creamy Parmesan Polenta with White Beans and Roasted Kale

Did you get a chance to enjoy the wonders of Roasted Potatoes Colcannon with Eggs? If you did, here's another wonderful way to enjoy roasted kale, and if not, here's another way to further tempt you to give roasted kale a chance. This plate of Italian-inspired happiness came about on a night when I was feeling a bit lazy and uninspired and was hunting around for some nutritious components I could put together quickly for a balanced meal. Crispy, salty roasted kale is every bit as irresistible here with polenta as it is with eggs-the combination of salty, crispy kale and creamy, rich polenta is so delicious that you won't be able to decide if it is the kale or polenta you've started (or rekindled) a love affair with (and it's probably both). The creamy cannellini beans blend seamlessly into the rich and savory polenta with the kale providing the perfect crunchy textural contast. This dish can best be described as pure comfort and is sure to make many  more appearances on my dinner table in the coming chilly winter months.

Creamy Parmesan Polenta with White Beans and Roasted Kale
serves 2

1/2 pound kale-stems and ribs removed, leaves chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup polenta
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup prepared white beans, preferably cannellini, kept warm

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, toss chopped kale with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Spread in an even layer on a prepared rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until kale is browned and crispy, tossing occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, bring 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add polenta to saucepan, reduce heat to medium or medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, until polenta is thickened. Remove pan from heat, stir in butter and Parmesan, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Divide polenta evenly between two plates, topping each mound of polenta with half of the beans. Place half the kale alongside on each plate and serve hot, scooping up some of the beans, polenta, and kale in each bite.

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