Cheesy Polenta Bites with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Let’s talk about corn bread for a sec: You know how the crispy corners are pretty much the best part? That’s what every single one of these cheesy polenta bites with Brussels sprouts and pancetta tastes like—plus, they’re piled high with all of our favorite savory adds-ons.

Polenta and Meatballs


4 cups chicken broth

1¼ cups polenta

⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Nonstick spray

4 ounces pancetta, diced

½ pound Brussels sprouts, separated into individual leaves

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

4 ounces goat cheese


1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat. Slowly add the polenta while whisking constantly.

2. Cook the polenta, stirring occasionally, until it appears thick, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and butter; season with salt and pepper.

3. Spritz a 9-by-13-inch dish with nonstick spray and pour the polenta into the dish in an even layer. Let cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.

5. Add the Brussels sprout leaves to the pan and sauté until lightly crisped, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then stir the pancetta back in.

6. Use a medium circle cutter (or the rim of a glass) to cut out circles from the polenta. Brush each circle with olive oil and transfer to a baking sheet.

7. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the polenta has lightly crisped, 12 to 15 minutes.

8. Spread each round with goat cheese and top with the Brussels sprout mixture.