Polenta Roundels with Broccoli Rabe

I’ll be honest: I recently purchased a roll of pre-cooked polenta. I usually make polenta myself–it’s very easy, for those of you who haven’t tried–but I was feeling pretty lazy, so I wanted to see what I could do with it fast. This simple dish comprises only polenta, garlic, broccoli rabe, and ricotta cheese (with the addition of some spices, if you like). It’s a nice start to cooking with broccoli rabe if you haven’t before.

You might spend more time eating this than cooking it:

  • One 16-ounce roll of pre-cooked polenta, like this one. I encourage you to make your own roll if you have time (just let your polenta set in a tube of parchment paper)! I didn’t use the whole roll when I made this–just enough to fill the pan.
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • One small bunch (about 2 cups) of broccoli rabe, which is not broccoli, and which is pleasantly bitter
  • About 3/4 cup of ricotta cheese
  • Olive oil or cooking spray for the pan
  • Salt and red pepper flakes, to taste

Cut your polenta into 1/4″- or 1/2″-thick roundels. Grease your frying pan with olive oil or cooking spray, and sauté the broccoli rabe and the garlic until it’s condensed enough to be pushed to one side of the pan. Next, place your polenta roundels on the other side of the pan, turning them over when one side has cooked (it will become a deep yellow, and hopefully brown a bit–this should take a minute or two).

When both sides of your polenta roundels are cooked, and your rabe begins to brown, remove the pan from the heat. Taste the rabe and add salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Spread some ricotta cheese on each roundel, and top with the rabe and garlic. Serves two lovebirds in the mood for a quick but classy dinner.

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