Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- 6 red bell peppers
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 8 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
- 2 cups polenta, divided
- 2 cups ricotta, strained
- ½ cup frozen spinach, thawed & drained
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Remove the stems from the 6 bell peppers, cut down the flesh of the pepper, and remove the seeds. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes until charred.
- Puree the roasted peppers in the bowl of a food processor.
- Add the red bell pepper puree, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 cloves garlic, and ¾ teaspoon sea salt to a saucepan. Bring to a simmer until the butter has melted and is fully incorporated.
- Add the ½ cup heavy cream, mix to combine, remove from the heat and add 1 cup of fresh basil leaves. Mix, cover and set aside. The sauce can be made ahead. I just leave the basil in until I serve it.
- For the stuffed polenta, you will be making the polenta twice.
- Prep a 9x9 square pan by lining it with parchment paper. You want each piece of parchment paper to cross the pan and hang over the sides so you can easily lift out the polenta after it sets.
- Bring 4 cups vegetable stock to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Bring back to a boil.
- Slowly add 1 cup of polenta while whisking constantly. Keep whisking the polenta while it cooks until the mixture thickens and the porridge becomes a bit stiff to stir, about 15 minutes.
- Once finished cooking, quickly transfer the porridge to your parchment lined pan, and spread it out into an even layer.
- You are going to repeat the exact same process for the next batch of polenta, but while that broth is coming to a boil, let's make the ricotta mixture.
- Add 2 cups of ricotta to a mixing bowl and mix in ½ cup spinach and ¼ teaspoon sea salt.
- Add the ricotta mixture to a piping bag or you can use a zipper bag. Trim off the end and layer the ricotta over the first layer of polenta.
- You can spread the ricotta all the way to the edges for a layered effect, or you can leave a small ½ inch border between the ricotta and the pan. If you add in the border, the next batch of polenta will “seal” in the ricotta inside the polenta. This makes it a bit easier to remove from the pan, slice, and serve. You do you.
- When the second layer of polenta is done cooking, pour it over the top of the ricotta mixture and spread it out evenly.
- Let the polenta set for about 10 minutes. It should no longer be steaming and push back a bit when pressed.
- Grab the parchment paper on each side of the pan and carefully lift out the polenta. Transfer to a flat surface and cut it up with a butter knife.
- Remove the basil from the red pepper sauce and serve over the polenta. Enjoy!
How to Store basil
Store basil like cut flowers. Trim the end and place in a jar with water. Store outside the fridge. You may have to place a bag over the top.
How to Store spinach
Spinach with clamshell containers, place a towel inside on top of the spinach. Store in the fridge towel-side down. Spinach will last about 3 times longer.
How to Freeze butter
You can freeze butter in its original packaging. It will keep for up to a year. Slice sticks of butter into portions for how you use it, so you won’t have to thaw the whole stick.
Myth about peppers
The peppers you buy in the store are not all the same variety. The red ones are not just ripe green ones. They are usually a completely different variety. Don’t wait for purchased green peppers to turn yellow, orange, then red. They will just spoil.