Baked Polenta, caprese style

As seen in our JUNE 2017 DINNER SHOWS.

2-3 pints cherry tomatoes, enough for sauce and 4-5 whole tomatoes for the garnish for each serving)
Salt, pepper, coriander
3-4 ciliegine (cherry sized fresh mozzarella balls) for each serving or make your own using 4-5  small pieces of fresh mozzarella) -lightly oil and salt for service
1/2 cup fresh made basil pesto
1 1/2-2 cups loosely packed cleaned and dried arugula that is lightly tossed in EVOO
1/2 cup loosely packed freshly made fresh basil chiffonade (ribbon cut)


  1. Lightly coat the cherry tomatoes with EVOO; add salt, pepper, and coriander to taste. Roast the cherry tomatoes on sheet pan 400ºF for 15 minutes until blistered. Remove and cool the tomatoes you are using for garnish and set aside. Put the others into food-mill to remove skin and create the fresh sauce. Hold warm until needed or refrigerate until needed.
  2. Make the polenta follow directions for oven baked of polenta, called BAKED POLENTA, in our cookbook. Change the seasonings to our Flavors of Tuscany. Once made, cool  slightly before scooping 1/4 cup polenta into EVOO oiled rings on oiled sheet pan. Then place on top 1 ounce grated Mozzarella cheese  which becomes the center when covered with another 1/4 cup polenta.  Smooth top, and continue filling rings as needed. You may then bake them immediately at 400ºF for about 8-10 minutes to get the cheese well melted and a little browning on the bottom.  Remove from oven, run a knife around inside of ring mold, then remove rings to a oiled sheet pan or directly to the plate for service. Alternatively chill them uncovered in the refrigerator for baking closer to dinner time.
  3. At service, assemble the plates when the roasted sauce and the polenta are hot. Place small amount of arugula on center of plate. Top it with the stuffed polenta that has been removed from the ring. Drizzle tomato sauce on the plate around the polenta without touching the polenta.  Don’t worry if some goes onto the greens. On the sauce decorate with 3-4 pieces of fresh mozzarella for each plate as well as the reserved roasted whole cherry tomatoes. Add pistachios to each plate. Place basil pesto over the polenta and around the plate. And top the center of polenta with chiffonade basil. Serve immediately with or without garlic bruschetta.


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