Polenta with Pesto (Polenta con Pesto)

Polenta with Pesto (Polenta con Pesto)

Polenta with Pesto (Polenta con Pesto)

Polenta is used in many different ways throughout Argentina, as it is a country populated by Italian immigrants that brought over many of their recipes and traditions when they settled up and down the coast of this massive South America land. Well known in Italy, polenta dishes like this one have become popular in Argentina, and reach as far Mexico, but this particular dish brings back many memories of my childhood in Argentina and my mother. My mom was always very busy; taking care of three children while working a full time job because we never had enough money at home. Trying to put food on the table that was both delicious and affordable became a challenge. This Polenta Con Pesto met those two basic criteria, and as kids, we loved it when she made it.

The recipe that I offer below is not made exactly the way my mom used to prepare it. Her version was a classic polenta with mozzarella. But the memory of her polenta remains intact in my mind, especially on the days when we would come back from school for one of her “quick lunches”. Polenta with mozzarella was one of her wild cards!

I’ve added a twist to my mother’s classic by giving it a more sophisticated flavor and bringing out a little more color and glamour with the combination of pesto and Parmesan cheese, instead of the original mozzarella. Served as a side dish or a main course, one of the great advantages of this recipe is that it is does not need too much preparation. The pesto can be made ahead of time and left in the fridge. All you need to do is cook the polenta about half an hour before your guests arrive and serve warm.

Finally, did you know that polenta is made from corn flour and it is therefore ideal for people who are gluten intolerant? All around, I think this one’s a keeper.


Pesto sauce

2 tablespoons cashew nuts

3 garlic cloves

1 bunch of basil

3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Salt and fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

3 ounces olive oil


12 ounces milk

12 ounces water

12 ounces chicken broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

11 ounces corn meal

Parmesan cheese for garnish (to taste)


Pesto sauce

1. Place and mix all the ingredients in a food processor

2. Add salt and pepper to taste


1. Place all the ingredients (except the corn meal) in a saucepan and bring to boil

2. Gradually add the corn meal. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the polenta thickens. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to avoid lumps from forming.


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