Ottolenghi's Cheesy polenta and tomato sauce


Great as an individual dish or a side dish. Can be served with a salad or next to a roast chicken or grilled fish. 

Cheesy polenta and tomato sauce

Recipe from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Shelf Love


480ml vegetable stock, or chicken stock, if not veggie
360ml whole milk
60g unsalted butter
200g instant polenta
150g coarsely grated Gruyère

150g datterini or regular cherry tomatoes
90ml olive oil
1 onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges (5¼ oz/150g)
6 garlic cloves, minced
750g vine tomatoes, cored and finely chopped into ½ inch/1cm cubes (seeds and all)
1 tsp sugar
10 sprigs oregano, plus 1½ tbsp leaves
salt and black pepper


  1. Place a large sautΓ© pan on high heat and, once very hot, add the datterini/cherry tomatoes and char for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside, then let the pan cool slightly.
  2. Return the pan to medium-high heat along with 4 tablespoons of oil and the onion. Cook for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the chopped vine tomatoes, sugar, oregano leaves, 7 tbsp/100ml of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, and plenty of pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the tomatoes have started to break down. Add the charred datterini tomatoes and cook for 8 minutes more, until the sauce has thickened. Keep warm on low heat.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a small frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the oregano sprigs and cook for just 1 minute, or until the leaves start to turn a deep green. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, put the stock, milk, 100ml of water, half the butter, 1¼ teaspoons of salt, and a good grind of pepper into a medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then turn the heat to medium-low and slowly add the polenta, whisking continuously, until completely incorporated. Continue whisking for 2–3 minutes, until the polenta is cooked and the mixture is quite wet. Stir in the cheese and the remaining butter. Remove from the heat.
  5. Spread the polenta out on a large platter. Spoon the tomato sauce on top, gently swirling some into the polenta. Top with the fried oregano and its oil, and serve warm.