Broccoli Pesto Polenta

Polenta gets FANCY with the additions of pesto & broccoli. Put an egg on it for a hearty breakfast/lunch/dinner. Check out the recipe at

Whenever I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, most of the time it’s–

“Something hearty and warm.”

This always ruins my I just wanna big salad for dinner cravings.

I secretly love when he’s had a big work lunch because then he wants something “light and healthy,” and I’m like coooool buddy, but also how can we work bread into that equation?

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

So, let’s combine greens with something hearty and warm and make broccoli pesto polenta.

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

And while we’re at it, let’s put poached eggs on top because we can call it breakfast for dinner.

Something warm, hearty and GREEN. And if you had a big lunch at work, then you just get a smaller bowl.

I won’t let you ruin dinner for me.

And we’re off!

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

First we are going to boil water for the broccoli.

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

It goes in. We cook it. We take out the broccoli and reserve the water.

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

Choppin’ broccoli. She’s chopping! CHOPPING BROCCOLI.  Had to.

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

We get the broccoli water back up to a boil. Now we pour the polenta in a nice stream.

Lower the heat to medium. Stir. Stir stir. We cook it for 15-20 minutes.

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

Make sure your cheese is grated. I used a cup of each…but you know…the more the merrier.

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

Now we stir the butter and the milk into the polenta. This makes it extra rich and creamy.

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

After the polenta is nice and creamy, we stir in the pesto, broccoli and red pepper flakes.

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

Cook that down for a bit. We want to thicken it up again.

NOW CHEESE.  Stir it in. Let it cook for another few minutes while…

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

You poach an egg!

I happen to love Alton Brown’s recipe for poached eggs.  When I cook more than one I don’t do the whirlpool technique. It stresses me out like you wouldn’t believe.

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

Spoon the broccoli pesto polenta into a bowl. Top with extra cheese and a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes.

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

Get that poached egg on top.

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

Poke it!!  Oh and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Broccoli Pesto Polenta || shutterbean

The delight you have for cracking into the top of creme brûlée is the same delight I experience when poking an egg.

Broccoli Pesto Polenta

serves 4

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 lb. broccoli florets
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 cup grated pecorino
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 4 poached eggs, for serving
  • extra virgin olive oil, for serving

Boil 4 cups water withe salt in a medium sauce pan.  Gently place the broccoli florets in the boiling water, reduce heat to low and cook covered with the lid for 4 minutes, or until broccoli is cooked and just tender. Strain broccoli from the broccoli water and let it rest cutting board until cool enough to handle. Chop broccoli into small pieces and set aside.

Return the broccoli water to a boil and stir in the polenta in a slow steady stream. Reduce the heat to medium and cook polenta for 15-20 minutes, stirring constantly so the polenta doesn’t stick to the bottom. You’ll know when it’s ready when the polenta starts to soften and thicken. Stir in the butter and milk and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Polenta should be smooth creamy. Stir in the pesto and chopped broccoli followed by the red pepper flakes and both the grated Pecorino and Parmesan. To serve, spoon polenta into four bowls and top with additional grated Parmesan, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Nestle a warm poached egg on top of each bowl of polenta a drizzle each egg with a little olive oil.



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  • Natalie O.

    Thanks for putting an egg on it! That’ll convince my hubs to try it. Looking forward to giving the recipe a shot. PS I’m in the big salad with bread camp, too.

  • Stefanie - Sarcastic Cooking

    My husband is working late so I think I am going to make this for me and the kid tonight!!! He is still mastering the fork and spoon so it should be a real mess but I have to have this so I don’t care!!!

    • Tracy

      Oh gosh. Cooper was SO into hummus when he was a baby…and man did I have HUMMUS IN EVERYTHING!

  • Erin | Well Plated

    This is the perfect happy place between green machine and comfort food. Also, the runny egg will always and forever be a good decision!

  • Kat

    I’ll take a fried egg….a la Smitten Kitchen….over the poached egg. Or maybe I should try both versions side by side! 🙂

    • Tracy

      I love that crispy fried egg! I also like how the poached one just melts right into this one. 😉

      • Kat

        Well then clearly…this requires a side by side comparison! Probably this weekend 🙂

  • Jaime | the Seasonal Veg Head

    This is all perfection to me…the creamy polenta, nutritious veggies, herby pesto and THAT EGG! Making this!!

  • Jordan Lynn // Life Between Lattes

    Mmmm I’ve never made polenta before, but this look ahhhhmazing.

  • Abby

    Oh, this looks delicious! 😀

  • Jamie

    It always seems when I have something “man food” lined up, like Bev’s Cubanos or pulled pork sandwiches, he wants a light salad and I have to scramble. Arrrgh! Sorry for the rant. He’s not into polenta either but this looks like the bomb. How do leftovers do with reheating?? = )

  • Jessica @ Golden Brown and Delicious

    Woah man. This looks amazing!! I think I could even get my fiance to eat it, which is kind of huge. I’d probably have to leave out the cheese on his, but that just means more cheese for me. Pinned!

  • Sue

    This sounds heavenly!!

  • Eileen

    Now THIS is what I want for lunch. Love the idea of greening the polenta with all the veg!

  • Adela

    What?? I’m trying this tomorrow!! I love polenta – I usually make it just with cheese, but this looks yummmi! Thanks for sharing. Btw I love your pictures. 😉

  • Jenny

    Tracy…wow! Love this idea…polenta + broccoli + pesto! Genius! I see this recipe in my very near future 🙂

  • Samantha Lipsie

    What kind of polenta do you use? I find different ones require a different ratio of liquid, and I’d love to get it perfect. Thanks!!

  • Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life

    I would just like to curl up on the couch with a massive bowl of this, some wine, and re-runs of Frasier and pretend that today isn’t Thursday. Can we make that situation happen?
    Oh, wait – I am the dinner maker.
    This situation is happening. Thanks Tracy 🙂

  • Alison

    I’ve been a bit put off cooking polenta because I lack the requisite upper body (arm) strength and I just didn’t want to stir for 15-20 min… true story! Please confirm that is the correct and only way to cook polenta?

  • Caitlin


  • Kate

    Another gem, thank you. Favorite website!

  • Mary Frances

    This looks just divine! So creamy and delicious!

  • Kee

    I made a dairy-free version using nutritional yeast instead of cheese and a homemade pesto from the summertime. I added kale and roasted sweet potatoes instead of the broccoli because it’s what I had on hand. delicious!

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  • Loren

    Just made this for the family, it was a huge hit. Polenta is back on the regular rotation. YUMMMMM Thanks for the recipe!

  • ang

    i just tried this last week. oh for the love of all things holy – this was SOO FREAKING GOOD!!! i was a tad unsure of how all that would taste together but, HOT DAMN!

    awesome recipe tracy!

  • Katie

    Just made this, so delicious! Poached an egg for the first time. Reheats well too so I have a few servings for the week!

  • Sarah

    I finally got around to making this recipe after drooling over it for months! It is AMAZING!!!

  • Bonnie

    FYI for cooking more than one egg and getting to do the whirlpool – yes! – courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated. Crack two eggs into a coffee cup (together!). Make the whirlpool in the barely simmering water and ease them in. Though they cook together, they are still separate. Brilliant! Don’t know if this works for more than 2 eggs. Never tried it, but I’ll bet it would.

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