Liguria Pesto Polenta

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Overview

Liguria is a layer of rosemary polenta topped with creamy ricotta beneath Pesto-tossed zucchini, mushroom and eggplant finished with melty mozzarella complete this satisfying vegetarian and gluten free comfort food.

 

Ingredients
zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, ricotta, mozzarella, pesto Full ingredient list

 

Dietary notes
vegetarian, gluten-free, kid-friendly



Tasting notes

Flavor
Basil and garlic are largely pronounced in this pesto-forward dish with savory mozzarella and a slightly sweet rosemary infused polenta

 

Texture
Creamy polenta surrounds fluffy ricotta, alongside tender zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms, and is all topped with melty mozzarella

 

Pairings
A filling vegetarian main or as a side dish with salmon, the pesto flavor pairs well with a minerally white wine, like The Storm Cellar's 2019 Estate Chardonnay (Hotchkiss). The aromatic herbs in this dish also nicely complement Saisons, like Bruz Beer's Till the Earth (Denver)

 





A brief history of pesto

Pesto, named after the past participle of the Genoese verb for "to pound," pestâ, is traditionally made from crushed garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil and an unpasteurized hard cheese like parmigiano.

Basil was only a more recent addition, recorded in writing as early as the 19th century and likely a reflection of increased trade with India to where the plant is native.

 

 

Earlier basil-less predecessors in Italy go back to the time of the Roman Empire (moretum, pictured here, is a mix of garlic, salt, cheese, herbs, olive oil and vinegar) and the middle ages (agliata, a mash of garlic and walnuts that was a staple of Ligurian seafarers).

Pesto today is still famously Ligurian, likely owing to its fertile, mineral rich seaside soil being Italy's best conditions for growing basil.