The cold wind is howling outside and puddles from the early morning rain are scattered everywhere. The sky is gray and the sun light barely shines through.
It is officially WINTER. And honestly, this just isn’t my favorite season. Winter go away…
In fact, I think I am experiencing some kind of winter blues. Or post-Christmas blues. It also makes me sad to realize that the year 2012 is coming to an end. I don’t like goodbyes or farewells. And the lack of sunlight today is just not helping.
On a more POSITIVE note. Winter gives me the perfect excuse to seek out comfort food. Which I’m in serious need of. I need the warm and comforting type of food that I can eat out of a bowl and wrap myself in a blanket with while I watch reruns of Friends. Comfort food to HEAL the gloomy mood I’m stuck in.
Why not make some creamy warm polenta? This Italian comfort food favorite is mixed with winter squash for added nutrition. It is so warm, creamy, and smooth. It’s also very easy to make. I only spent about 15 minutes stirring it. And I already had roasted winter squash puree that I stored and froze a month ago. Winter squash puree is always nice to have in the winter. It worked so wonderfully well with this polenta. And its funny how the name coincidentally happens to go along with the officially cold winter weather outside.
Not so funny?
I mixed in some cream cheese and milk to make the polenta even more creamier. Cream cheese just makes everything taste better. Doesn’t it? And I really love how the winter squash puree enhances the flavor of the cornmeal.
This polenta is excellent on its own, very hearty and filling. It’s so NURTURING. A nice vegetarian meal. I believe it would also go well in smaller portions as a side dish. Plus it makes an elegant presentation.
I think! I mean, I tried my best!
I have to admit, polenta wasn’t always a favorite of mine. When I first made polenta, I was left confused and afraid. I wasn’t sure how to eat it or what to do with it. It just tasted so bland! But now I’ve come to realize that the blandness of the polenta is actually a good thing. VERSATILITY! There’s so many different toppings you could add to it. The topping options are abundant!
Speaking of toppings, I discovered a new combination of toppings to add on top. Pine nuts and raisins dressed in brown butter. It is simply delicious with the browned toasted nutty-flavored butter and the creaminess and crunchy texture of the pine nuts. The raisins too, add a touch of sweetness and really complement the winter squash really well. Don’t forget to add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese or freshly grated cheese. And finish it off with some freshly grated black pepper. What a combination of excellent flavors!
So whether you’re also going through the winter blues like me. Or you’re just simply craving comfort food. You have to try this creamy winter squash polenta. Add your favorite toppings or my new favorite topping, pine nuts and raisins in brown butter. Enjoy!
What a great way to celebrate the winter season (even if you can’t wait for it to go away)!
Creamy Winter Squash Polenta with Pine Nuts and Raisins
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 4 cups broth
- 2 cups winter squash puree
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese
- 2/3 cups milk
- pinch thyme, dried
- salt & pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup raisins
- parmesan cheese
|In a medium saucepan add the broth or water and bring to boil. Very gradually whisk in the cornmeal and continue to whisk well. Add a dash of salt if using water. Reduce heat to low, cover, and stir frequently. Simmer until thickened, for about 15 minutes. Whisk in squash puree, add a pinch or two of dried thyme, add cream cheese, milk, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to cook over low heat until all heated through.|
|Then brown butter over medium heat whisking frequently in a small skillet just until it starts to brown and brown specks appear. Remove from heat. Add pine nuts and raisins. Toss and coat them well with the brown butter.|
|Serve the polenta warm and top each serving with the brown butter, pine nuts, and raisins. Also, sprinkle or grate parmesan cheese and black pepper on top.|