Guys. We've got a recipe that will take your Thanksgiving spread to the next level: pumpkin polenta. It incorporates everyone's favorite seasonal gourd (you can use fresh or canned pumpkin, depending on how fancy you want to get) with polenta (aka cornmeal cooked to a grits-like consistency) for a standout side dish. It's rich, creamy and bound to become a new holiday staple.
3 cups peeled, cubed pumpkin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2½ cups milk
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup polenta
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Spread the pumpkin into an even layer on the baking sheet and drizzle it evenly with the olive oil. Season with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, and toss well to coat. Roast the pumpkin until very tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
3. Transfer the pumpkin to a blender or food processor and add the milk. Blend until smooth, and then transfer the mixture to a large pot.
4. Stir in 2 cups water and the heavy cream, and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat.
5. When the liquid is hot, whisk in the polenta. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture becomes thick, resembling oatmeal, 25 to 30 minutes.
6. Stir in the Parmesan and butter, and check the seasoning; add more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve warm.
Note: Crunched for time? Substitute 2 cups canned pumpkin puree for the roasted pumpkin in this recipe.