Pesto Meatballs & Fresh Corn Polenta with Marinated Sun Gold Tomatoes & Basil

Pesto Meatballs & Fresh Corn Polenta

with Marinated Sun Gold Tomatoes & Basil

40 MIN
4 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

In this beautiful dish, we’re coating meatballs in a unique, handmade pesto. Our sauce gets its bright-green color (and flavor) not only from basil, but also from peppery arugula—combined with earthy walnuts, Parmesan and garlic. We’re serving the pesto meatballs on top of creamy polenta, simmered with fresh corn kernels to accent the sweetness of the cornmeal. And for another topping, we’re marinating sun gold tomatoes with basil and olive oil. The marinade softens the tomatoes slightly and draws out their tropically-sweet juices, providing an exquisite pairing for the savory meatballs.

See Plans
  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    700 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
Pesto Meatballs & Fresh Corn Polenta with Marinated Sun Gold Tomatoes & Basil
Title
  • 1⅛ lbs Ground Beef
  • 1½ cups Polenta
  • 4 oz Sun Gold Tomatoes
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 2 oz Arugula
  • 2 ears Of Corn
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 large bunch Basil
  • 3 Tbsps Butter
  • ⅓ cup Breadcrumbs
  • ⅓ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • ¼ cup Walnuts
time-saving
tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Pick the basil off the stems; discard the stems. Halve the tomatoes; place in a bowl with half the basil (roughly chopping before adding). Drizzle with olive oil and stir to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Peel the garlic. Mince 3 of the cloves. Mince the remaining clove; smash with the side of your knife until it resembles a paste (or use a zester). Finely chop the walnuts. Peel and small dice the onion. Remove and discard the husks and silks of the corn. Cut the kernels off the cobs; discard the cobs.

Make the pesto:
2 Make the pesto:

Add the arugula and remaining basil to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until wilted. Drain thoroughly. Transfer to a strainer; rinse under cold water. Hold or rest the strainer over a bowl. Using a spoon, press down on the greens to release as much liquid as possible; discard the liquid. Transfer the greens to a cutting board; very finely chop. In a large bowl, combine the chopped greens, garlic paste, walnuts and half the cheese. Slowly stir in enough olive oil to create a paste; season with salt and pepper to taste. Rinse and dry the pot.

Boil the polenta water & cook the aromatics:
3 Boil the polenta water & cook the aromatics:

In the pot used to cook the greens, heat 6 cups of water and a big pinch of salt to boiling on high. Meanwhile, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion and minced garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until softened. Transfer to a large bowl. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the polenta:
4 Cook the polenta:

Add the corn and polenta to the pot of boiling water, whisking to break up any clumps; season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer, whisking frequently, 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter until well combined; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Form & cook the meatballs:
5 Form & cook the meatballs:

While the polenta cooks, add the ground beef and breadcrumbs to the bowl of cooked aromatics; season with salt and pepper. Gently mix until just combined. Using your hands, form the mixture into 24 equal-sized meatballs. In the pan used to cook the aromatics, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the meatballs. Cook, turning occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from heat.

Finish the meatballs & serve your dish:
6 Finish the meatballs & serve your dish:

To the bowl of pesto, add the cooked meatballs and 2 tablespoons of water. Toss to thoroughly coat; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the cooked polenta between 4 dishes. Top with the finished meatballs and marinated tomatoes. Garnish with the remaining cheese. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Pick the basil off the stems; discard the stems. Halve the tomatoes; place in a bowl with half the basil (roughly chopping before adding). Drizzle with olive oil and stir to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Peel the garlic. Mince 3 of the cloves. Mince the remaining clove; smash with the side of your knife until it resembles a paste (or use a zester). Finely chop the walnuts. Peel and small dice the onion. Remove and discard the husks and silks of the corn. Cut the kernels off the cobs; discard the cobs.

2 Make the pesto:

Add the arugula and remaining basil to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until wilted. Drain thoroughly. Transfer to a strainer; rinse under cold water. Hold or rest the strainer over a bowl. Using a spoon, press down on the greens to release as much liquid as possible; discard the liquid. Transfer the greens to a cutting board; very finely chop. In a large bowl, combine the chopped greens, garlic paste, walnuts and half the cheese. Slowly stir in enough olive oil to create a paste; season with salt and pepper to taste. Rinse and dry the pot.

Boil the polenta water & cook the aromatics:
3 Boil the polenta water & cook the aromatics:

In the pot used to cook the greens, heat 6 cups of water and a big pinch of salt to boiling on high. Meanwhile, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion and minced garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until softened. Transfer to a large bowl. Wipe out the pan.

4 Cook the polenta:

Add the corn and polenta to the pot of boiling water, whisking to break up any clumps; season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer, whisking frequently, 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter until well combined; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the polenta:
Form & cook the meatballs:
5 Form & cook the meatballs:

While the polenta cooks, add the ground beef and breadcrumbs to the bowl of cooked aromatics; season with salt and pepper. Gently mix until just combined. Using your hands, form the mixture into 24 equal-sized meatballs. In the pan used to cook the aromatics, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the meatballs. Cook, turning occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from heat.

6 Finish the meatballs & serve your dish:

To the bowl of pesto, add the cooked meatballs and 2 tablespoons of water. Toss to thoroughly coat; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the cooked polenta between 4 dishes. Top with the finished meatballs and marinated tomatoes. Garnish with the remaining cheese. Enjoy!

Finish the meatballs & serve your dish:
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