Baked Polenta with Pancetta and Egg

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3 cups prepared polenta, from instant*

1/2 cup parmesan, plus more for topping (optional)

1 clove garlic

1 carrot, diced

1 stalk of celery, diced

3/4 cup diced tomatoes, canned, fired roasted, if possible

3 ounces fried chopped pancetta

chopped parsley, about 1/4 cup


Preheat oven to 350 F.

*Prepare polenta according to package directions, or you can cut this recipe in half here. I cheated. But the box said something like, “This is what Italians prefer!” or something like that, so I felt justified. Stir in parmesan cheese while hot, if desired. Place about 3/4 cup of polenta into each of the four ramekins. The ramekins I used were square and held about 12 fluid ounces.

In a small pan, place a teaspoon of olive oil, and over medium high heat, sauté the garlic, carrot, and celery until soft and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes more. Smear a few tablespoons of garlic/carrot/celery/tomato mixture on top of polenta. It doesn’t need to cover entire surface on top. Crack an egg in one side on top of polenta for each ramekin and bake for 15 minutes, or until desired consistency for egg. If you want the yolk to be more set, you may need to leave it in there longer, like 18-20 minutes. Each oven varies, so watch this.

And definitely don’t accidentally hit the broil button or lever, which is what I did, about five minutes into the baking time! The picture doesn’t show it, but the yolk was completely cooked, and the whites had the texture and mouthfeel of plastic. I wish I was kidding. I have absolutely no idea how I managed to turn the lever to the broil. I’ve done all kinds of mistakes, like failing to preheat the oven, or preheating it at a wrong temperature. But never this. Hopefully never again.

While the polenta and egg is in the oven, prepare toppings.

For the pancetta, simply chop finely and place in a heated pan and stir occasionally until crumbly and toasted. Chop the parsley, grate the parmesan, if needed. When the egg is baked to your desire (and hopefully not broiled to death!), top with the parmesan cheese, pancetta, parsley, and black pepper. If you do accidentally overcook the egg, scoop out the egg and feed your dog/cat, and act like you meant to do that all along, while you quickly fry an egg in a frying pan over the stove!

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2 responses to “Baked Polenta with Pancetta and Egg”

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