Tag pesto

Parties That Cook Vegetarian Recipe: Polenta Toasts with Red Bell Pepper Pesto and Goat Cheese

Have you ever wanted to be one of the “cool kids”? It’s OK to admit, we can’t all have been Cheerios at McKinley. There’s still time to make the transition, even for those no longer in school. The IT thing to try right now: Vegetarian Food. Parties That Cook is here to help with this recipe for delicious Polenta Toasts with Red Bell Pepper Pesto and Goat Cheese that will give you a whole new view of vegetarian food!

Polenta Toasts with Red Bell Pepper Pesto and Goat Cheese
This recipe can also be found in our Appetizer Recipe Library!



Canola oil for oiling sheet pan and frying
7 cups milk
2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal)

Red Bell Pepper Pesto:
2 red bell peppers
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeds removed and chopped
1/4 cup smoked almonds
2 large cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice plus 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt

7 ounces goat cheese
1 Tablespoon milk or cream
Thyme sprigs for garnish

Polenta: Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Combine milk, salt and butter in a large heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil. Gradually add the polenta, whisking until smooth. Reduce heat to low. Cook the polenta until it is creamy and thick, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Pour out onto oiled sheet, spread evenly so that it is very smooth and flat. Let cool to room temperature.

Red Bell Pepper Pesto: Roast the pepper over a stovetop flame until blackened (or broil in the oven until blackened). Transfer to a paper bag for 5 minutes to steam then peel off the charred skin and remove seeds and stem. In a food processor, blend the peppers, chipotle, almonds, garlic, oil, lemon juice and zest, Parmesan and salt until very smooth.

Grilled Polenta: Using a wet, 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out polenta circles. Heat canola oil in a large non-stick grill pan or griddle. Cook polenta on one side until golden then flip and cook on the other side. Transfer finished circles to a serving platter.

To Serve: Mix the goat cheese, milk and thyme with a fork. Spoon goat cheese into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Put a dollop of the pesto onto each polenta circle. Pipe a rosette of goat cheese in the center. Garnish with thyme sprig and serve.

Makes 24 Polenta Toasts

Want to try something new, eat delicious food, and learn a few new cooking techniques in the process? Then be sure to check out our first ever Vegetarian Tapas Cooking Class on March 1, 2011! Vegetarian International Tapas (similar to the one above) are on the evening’s menu, though you don’t actually have to be a vegetarian to attend. After this class, you may just be inspired to try Source, a Vegetarian and Vegan restaurant with a much-anticipated opening in San Francisco on March 2.

Going Green for St. Patrick’s Day: Fettuccine with Arugula-Walnut Pesto and Shaved Asiago Recipe

Chicago celebrates with a green river, Seattle paints its roads green, and San Franciscans will be searching for green beer in pubs all over the city.  St. Patrick’s Day is coming up and if you haven’t found your “something green” or if green just doesn’t look good on you but you still want to be festive, here’s an idea — eat your green!

Join the green theme and put together an all-green meal for a St. Patty’s Day party or for the family.  This may be the one time of year when you don’t have to try too hard to get your kids to eat their veggies.  We’ll get you started with our GREEN Fettuccine with Arugula-Walnut Pesto and Shaved Asiago recipe.  Use spinach or any other green-colored fettuccine and you will have a wonderful belly full of green ready to absorb all that green beer to follow!

Fettuccine with Arugula Walnut Pesto and Shaved Asiago


2 gloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 packed cups arugula
1/2 packed cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice (+ plus more for seasoning)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil


1 pound dried fettuccine
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt for pasta cooking water

1/3 cup (3 ounces) shaves Asiago
Basil leaves, cut into thin strips
Chopped walnuts


Make Pesto: Place the garlic, arugula, basil, walnuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Asiago, lemon zest/juice and salt in a food processor.  Process until a rough paste is formed.  Add the olive oil and process until the paste is smooth.

Cooking Pasta:
Meanwhile, in a large stockpot of heavily salted boiling water, cook and stir pasta until tender but firm to the bite, about 10 minutes.  Drain pasta well, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid.  Transfer to a bowl and toss gently with the pesto.  Add pasta water as needed to loosen up the pasta.  Season with additional salt and lemon juice.

Spoon pasta onto a pasta plate.  Garnish with shaved Asiago, basil and walnuts. Serve immediately.  Serves 8 as first course.