Jefferson’s Polenta with Garden-Fresh Vegetables


Adapted from one of Thomas Jefferson’s recipes, polenta, with its origins in Italy, resembles America’s cornmeal mush, a staple in the US diet since the nation’s very early days. This makes a substantial entrée, delicious with raw, steamed or sautéed farm-fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, green beans or chard.

  • ServingServings


  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups coarse-ground yellow corn meal
  • 1 ½ cups grated fontina
  • 1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese or other mild Italian cheese
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter


  1. Bring salted water to a boil. Slowly add cornmeal, whisking continuously.
  2. When all cornmeal is added, reduce heat to low and continue whisking to remove any lumps. Continue cooking while stirring with spoon, adding ½ cup fontina cheese, for about 25 minutes, or until mixture is thick.
  3. Line 9-inch loaf pan with wax paper and lightly butter paper. Scoop cornmeal into pan and set aside to firm.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter ovenproof baking dish.
  5. Cut polenta into slices and place slices in overlapping layers in dish, dotting with butter and sprinkling with cheese. Reserve cheese to sprinkle over top.
  6. Bake polenta until cheeses melt and polenta forms crust, 10 to 15 minutes. For final browning, place baking dish under broiler and cook until cheeses turn golden. Remove and serve.

Wine Suggestions

Corn, butter, Parmesan, fontina! Thomas Jefferson would probably serve wine from either France or Virginia. Try Louis Latour 1996 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru or Linden Vineyards Chardonnay

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: Serves 6
  • Calories: 550
  • Carbohydrate Content: 49 g
  • Cholesterol Content: 90 mg
  • Fat Content: 30 g
  • Fiber Content: 5 g
  • Protein Content: 21 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 19 g
  • Sodium Content: 940 mg