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Amaranth “Polenta” with Hearty Olive and Tuna Sauce Recipe

Course: Main Course
Total Time: Half Day
Skill Level: Moderate
Cost: Moderate
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Amaranth “Polenta” with Hearty Olive and Tuna Sauce

Photo by: Joseph DeLeo

This flavorful sauce goes together fast and is also a great topper for whole wheat penne or brown rice, one you can pull together from your pantry in a pinch. Vegetarians can easily leave out the fish and still have tons of flavor. After trying this polenta, I can take or leave the plain corn kind; the flavor of these grains is so much better-in fact, millet was the original polenta, before Columbus. Teff, if you can get it, makes a chocolate brown polenta with a unique flavor.

Yield: Serves 4

  • ½ cup millet
  • ½ cup amaranth or teft
  • 2½ cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 medium shallots, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 2 tablespoons olivada black olive paste
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup canned diced tomato, drained
  • 1 6-ounce can tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 1 cup julienned fresh basil


Use olive oil to lightly coat a 9-inch square baking pan. Wash the millet, then combine the millet and amaranth or teff with the stock in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Lift the lid and stir it a few times during cooking. After 30 minutes, it should be a thick, porridgey consistency. Keep cooking and stirring until it begins to form a more solid mass, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Scrape into the baking pan and smooth the top. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Unmold the polenta onto a cutting board and slice into triangles or bars. Reserve.

In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sauté the shallots and carrot over medium heat. When they are tender, add the anchovy paste, olivada paste, lemon zest, and canned tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes, until thick. Add the tuna, stir it in, and add lemon juice to taste. Keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. When hot, place a heavy baking pan in the oven to heat for 5 minutes. Take it out, drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on the pan, and put the polenta slices in the oil. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the top of the polenta, and place in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the slices over with a spatula. Bake for 5 minutes more, until the edges of the slices are crispy.

Serve the polenta on plates, topped with the tuna sauce and basil.

© 2007 Robin Asbell

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

553kcal (28%)
1534mg (64%)
28g (43%)
6g (30%)
20mg (7%)
199mcg RAE (7%)
12mg (20%)
247mg (25%)
5mg (28%)

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