Here, humble and homely polenta is transformed into a vibrant green showstopper side you might just find yourself making over and over again. Because this recipe has only a handful of ingredients, sourcing and cooking with the best you can find makes all the difference to the final dish.

Green Polenta Recipe

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

When to make it: The green purée may be made a couple of hours ahead of when you
plan on serving it. Finished green polenta is best made right before serving.

  • ½ lb mixed green leaves, such as kale, spinach or Swiss chard, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt, to taste
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups coarse or fine-ground polenta
  • ¼ cup mascarpone cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place garlic cloves in a medium saucepan and fill with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, season generously with salt and stir in greens. Blanch uncovered until greens are tender (about 1 minute). Strain, discarding water, and allow greens and garlic to cool a couple of minutes. Once cool enough to handle, place garlic in a food processor and squeeze out as much water as possible from greens before also adding to the food processor. Add a pinch of salt and ¼ cup olive oil and process, occasionally stopping to scrape down the sides of the processor, until a fairly smooth paste forms. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Bring 7 cups water and 1 tsp salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Gradually whisk in polenta. Keep whisking until polenta starts to thicken. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until polenta is creamy and tender (about 40 minutes for coarse polenta and about 20 minutes for fine polenta). Stir in remaining ¼ cup olive oil and greens purée before removing saucepan from heat and stirring in mascarpone cheese. Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper. Serve while warm.

Originally published April 13, 2022.