Serious Eats: Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: Polenta with Broccoli Rabe

[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

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2 cups polenta (about 12 ounces): $1.20
1 bunch broccoli rabe: $2.99

Pantry items: Butter, salt, olive oil, garlic, crushed chile flakes

Total cost (for 4 portions): $4.19

I only started making polenta last winter, when I discovered Madhur Jaffrey's convenient method of cooking it in the oven: no prolonged stirring, no forearms burned by eruptions of scalding cornmeal. Even though it's inexpensive and quite good for you, fresh-cooked polenta tastes rich and special: The first time I served it to Andrew, he asked how much butter and cheese it contained, suspicious that I was trying to give him an instant heart attack. In fact, I had stirred in only two tablespoons of butter and no cheese at all.

The broccoli rabe, on the other hand, is doused in olive oil, but I think it's worth it. The sharp and peppery flavors of the greens and oil contrast beautifully with the creamy polenta. Since four servings of this luxurious dish don't quite hit the $8 mark, I'd use the difference to buy a piece of cheese to eat afterward or alongside.

Polenta Cooked in the Oven

About the author: Robin Bellinger is a freelance editor and shameless cookie addict. She lives in San Francisco and blogs about what she feeds her husband and her daughter at home*economics.

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