Spinach and parmesan polenta bake with butter baked tomatoes

For an imaginative vegetarian meal try Lesley Waters's colourful recipe for a polenta dish served with baked tomatoes
By Lesley Waters
Spinach and parmesan polenta bake with butter baked tomatoes
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 400 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 300 ml water
  • 125 g quick-cook polenta
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 50 g parmesan, grated
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 175 g spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • black pepper

For the butter baked tomatoes:

  • 8 very ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • black pepper
  • 55 g unsalted butter
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 140 g black olives, pitted and roughly chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add in the onion and fry gently for 10 minutes, until softened and golden brown.

3. Pour in the milk and water, then bring to the boil.

4. Stir in the polenta, then cook, beating well, until the mixture bcomes thick and smooth and remove from heat.

5. Beat in the egg yolks, Parmesan, nutmeg and spinach, then season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper.

6. Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until they form soft peaks. Gently fold the whisked egg white into the polenta mixture. Spoon into a lightly oiled 1.2 litre gratin dish.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until slightly puffed up and golden brown.

8. While the gratin is baking prepare the butter baked tomatoes. With a small, sharp knife, cut a deep cross on the rounded side of each tomato. Using the palm of your hand push down on the cut cross to flatten the tomatoes slightly.

9. Place the tomatoes in a shallow, ovenproof serving dish or plate and sprinkle with the sugar. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper and set to one side.

10. In a small saucepan, gently melt the butter and stir in the chillies and garlic and remove from the heat.

11. Spoon the olives over the tomatoes and pour over the chilli butter. Bake the tomatoes in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until sizzling hot.

12. Serve the polenta gratin with the butter baked tomatoes hot from the oven.

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