Polenta With Balsamic Scallion Greens 2.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Jun 25, 2019

Of the many meatless, easy ways you can top a bowlful of cornmeal mush, this one does not disappoint.

Choose a stone-ground or coarsely ground cornmeal, or polenta labeled as "quick-cooking" for this recipe.

VARIATION: You can cook 3 strips of regular or turkey bacon, or prosciutto, until crisped, then crumbled the bits on top of each portion before serving.

Make Ahead: You may have leftover polenta, which is a good thing. It can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, and reconstituted with milk or broth when reheated.

2 - 3

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 2-3 servings

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup cornmeal or dried polenta (see headnote)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 10 scallions
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Spanish smoked paprika (may substitute sweet paprika)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half (optional)
  • Freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish


Boil the water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the salt; once it has dissolved, gradually whisk in the cornmeal or polenta. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the butter and tomato paste; cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often; the mixture will thicken quickly but keep stirring, so the mixture is evenly cooked and does not scorch on the bottom. Remove from the heat; taste, and season lightly with black pepper and/or more salt, as needed. Cover partially to keep warm.

Meanwhile, cut half of the tomatoes in half and season them lightly with salt. Trim/discard the root ends from the scallions; reserve the white parts for another use, if desired. Cut the remaining scallion greens into 2-inch lengths.

Heat the oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir in the scallions; cook for a few minutes, just until they are beginning to soften, then add all the tomatoes. Increase the heat to medium-high; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the tomatoes are just warmed through and starting to soften. Season lightly with the smoked paprika, then turn off the heat. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar (to taste) and toss lightly to incorporate. Taste, and season with more of the smoked paprika, as needed.

Uncover the polenta and stir in the cream or half-and-half, if using. Divide among warmed bowls, then immediately top with equal portions of the warm tomato-scallion mixture. Drizzle with a little more oil and scatter the cheese on top.

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Recipe Source

From deputy Food/recipe editor Bonnie S. Benwick.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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