Polenta works beautifully with the sweet flavour of roasted tomatoes / Lisa Barber
Serves 4

Polenta is one of the most comforting foodstuffs I know – I often yearn for it when the weather turns cooler. It works beautifully with the sweet flavour of roasted tomatoes.

4 cups of water
1 cup of coarse yellow polenta
A pinch of sea salt
80g/3oz unsalted butter
150g/5oz freshly grated Parmesan
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper

For the roast tomato and black olive sauce

2kg/4lb ripe tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
1 bunch of sage, leaves only
60ml/21/2fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
20 small, good-quality, black olives – Ligurian, for example – pips removed

To make the polenta, place the water in a medium-sized, heavy-based pan and place over a medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, add a good pinch of salt and add the polenta. Turn down the heat and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through, which will take about 25 minutes; the polenta should no longer be grainy. Add the butter and Parmesan and stir well to combine the tastes. Adjust the seasoning as necessary, possibly adding a little more salt. You can keep the polenta warm in a bain-marie for up to two hours as long as it is covered with a lid.

To make the tomato and olive sauce, roughly chop the tomatoes and place in a baking tray along with the garlic, chilli, sage and olive oil. Season generously with sea salt and place on the middle shelf of a preheated oven at 200C/400F/Gas6, for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, scatter over the olives and stir well; adjust the seasoning if necessary, adding more salt or pepper.

Serve with the polenta in warm bowls and add some extra, grated Parmesan on top, to taste.

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