Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Parmesan Polenta

Brolotti Beans and Creamy Polenta

Life is all about balance, right?  Balance and beans.  Ok… maybe not that last part.

While I’ll be the first person in line to pick at those brownies fresh out of the oven, I also know that I have to fill my belly with foods that make my body feel strong.  Because I think food is just downright dreamy, I like to take the time to make something special for my body.  Why?  I figure if my body is happy, then my brain is pretty stoked and my heart feels pretty rad… and that trickles out to every part of my life.

Can I tell you a secret?  I gave up working out for the new year.  That’s right… I gave it up completely.  I had absolutely no interest at all in even glancing at my running shoes.  About two months in, I went to slip on my favorite jeans.  Um…  they were tight… and they hadn’t just come out of the dryer.  What did I expect?  Seriously…

Well, I’m back at it.  I’m taking my running shoes out for a spin every once in a while, and my body is all smiles.  Incidentally, my body also wants to celebrate its new found activity with French fries… but that’s a whole other battle we can talk about later.

Brolotti Beans and Creamy Polenta

Brolotti Beans and Creamy Polenta

This Borlotti Stew over Creamy Polenta feels exactly as good as getting out of the shower after a long run and sliding under the electric blanket for the night.  It’s one big bowl of good-for-you comfort.

It’s a small way to celebrate real food being really good for you.  I dunno… I think there’s something really special, and necessary about taking care of your body with a whole, happy meal.

Brolotti Beans and Creamy Polenta

Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Parmesan Polenta

Print this Recipe!

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 medium fennel bulb trimmed and chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 teaspoons fresh oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes


1 small carrot peeled and shredded

1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes or plum tomatoes


3 cups cooked and drained Borlotti beans (more about how to soak and cook those suckers here)

For Parmesan Polenta

1 cup polenta

3 cups cold water

2 cups whole milk  (if you don’t want to use whole, just use whatever you have on hand)

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Brolotti Beans and Creamy Polenta

In a small, heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter.  Add onions, fennel, garlic, 2 teaspoons oregano and red pepper flakes, plus a pinch of salt and pepper.  Saute for 10 minutes.

Add shredded carrot and saute for 2-3 minutes more.

Add tomatoes and stir to break up.  Add another pinch of salt.

Reduce heat to super low (a very very low simmer) and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to separate from oil, about 2 hours.  I cooked my tomatoes for about an hour and a half before I couldn’t wait any longer and dove in.

Add the rest of the oregano, plus more salt and pepper to taste.  Add Borlotti beans and stir to combine.

Now make the Polenta

Place 1 cup of dried polenta in a medium sized bowl.  Top with one cup cold water.  Set aside.

In a medium sized sauce pan bring 2 cups of whole milk and remaining 2 cups of water to a boil.  Once boiling, add salt.  Slowly whisk the polenta and water mixture into the boiling milk mixture.  Turn flame down to medium low.  The time the polenta takes to cook will depend on weather you’re using fine grain or course polenta.  My fine grain polenta took just minutes to thicken.  However long it takes, stir occasionally until you’re reached a desired thickness.

Turn of flame and add grated parmesan cheese.  Stir to incorporate.

Serve Borlotti with tomato sauce over warm polenta and top with extra Parmesan if you’re feelin’ frisky.

Brolotti Beans and Creamy Polenta

40 thoughts on “Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Parmesan Polenta

  1. I just came across your blog through foodbuzz and this recipe looks amazing. I look forward to trying it and am sending it along to my friend who loves polenta!


  2. Well, my jeans are tight too and this looks like a very excellent, satisfying meal that might just help me get them to loosen up a bit. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep “just looking” at my walking shoes for a bit longer and eat my thin…yeah right. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  3. i just discovered your blog and i love it! this looks delicious–thanks for sharing.

    also im going to link your blog to mine just because of how much i enjoy it, thought you should know.

  4. I could not agree with you more. I think cooking a filling and warming meal for yourself is better than any therapy. I hope running gives you some peace too – I love to run and find it’s the only “exercise” I will consistently stick to.

  5. This looks really tasty, I love all kinds of beans. I also crave french fries, and have to limit myself to having them only once a week (or less), so my jeans still fit!

  6. All the time when I hear the word Polenta I think of my grandmother coursing in funny Italian words in front of the stove.
    She was a funny lady, polenta was her favorite meal, and she would be in the kitchen coursing the hell out of that concoction. You had to have muscles to cook polenta. Now we get the instant one, that makes life easier. I really miss my “Bina.”

  7. You know, after your post yesterday I just had to crack open a can of beans for our dinner. Now I’m wishing I’d waited as this looks so delicious.

    Oh, and I too dragged my body around the block yesterday, running for the first time in two years. I’m sure it’ll feel great once the aching stops!

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