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Red Wine Tomato Polenta

Rich, creamy, and fresh together in every bite.

Red Wine Tomato Polenta

Pasta takes center stage whenever there’s any mention of Italian food, but polenta is a wonderful Mediterranean dish that blends New World and Old World foods in a delicious balance. Sometimes called “Italian grits”, the recipe gets a hearty boost of flavor thanks to a red wine, tomato, and basil sauce that goes on top. This red wine tomato polenta is one dish that’s both hearty and fresh at the same time.

To start this recipe you’ll need to cook the polenta in milk. The addition of garlic, thyme, salt, and black pepper gives the corn mixture a delightful flavor. This needs to be simmered for about half an hour, stirring often.

Once the polenta is done you can begin on the sauce which is where the magic happens. The sauce is based on fresh cherry tomatoes, but then the addition of red wine makes this a really special recipe. It’s a simple sauce that gets a boost from garlic and lemon juice, but the wine helps to balance the fresh flavors with the richness of vino. You can use any red wine you like, but for the best flavor a rosé or white wine is not your best bet.

Red Wine Tomato Polenta

In the sauce there’s also some spinach and basil for a bit of green and to add some freshness to the creamy polenta. I recommend having a bit of extra chopped basil on hand for the garnish. And, in terms of “eating with your eyes first” the colorful mix of the yellow polenta topped with the brilliant red sauce, with the ribbons of basil on top makes this an irresistibly attractive dish.

Red Wine Tomato Polenta

This red wine tomato polenta is a wonderful addition to any meal. Serve this alongside some baked chicken or fish for meal that’s as delicious as it is good-looking.

Serves 4

15m prep time

1h 5m cook time

535 calories

Rated 1 out of 5
Rated by 1 reviewers

Allergens: Milk

For the polenta:
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked coarse-ground polenta
For the sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups (20 oz) cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup (8 oz) red wine
  • 2 cups spinach, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
For the polenta:
  1. In a medium pot combine milk and water. Bring to a boil and add garlic, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard thyme. Slowly pour in polenta, whisking the whole time. Simmer on low for 30-35 minutes, stirring often to avoid sticking.
For the sauce:
  1. In a large skillet heat oil on medium-high. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 16-20 minutes or until tomatoes have burst and sauce forms. Add garlic, pepper, and wine and stir well. Cook for 10 minutes before adding spinach. Cook for 1 minute and then remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
  2. Serve polenta with sauce on top and garnish each serving with extra basil and grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine.

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