Baked Polenta with Tomato &Basil Sauce


1 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil or coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
150g/5 ½ oz/1 cup polenta/cornmeal
30g/1oz1/4 cup ground almonds (optional)
11/35fl oz 4cups vegetable stock
2 tsp lemon juice
60g/2 ¼ oz/heaped 1/3 cup pine nuts (optional)
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
400g/14oz/scant 1 2/3 cups canned/crushed
1handful of basil leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp crushed chillies/ hot pepper flakes
½ tsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and lightly grease a 21/70fl oz/8 cup shallow ovenproof dish. Put the polenta/cornmeal and ground almonds if using in a bowl and add stock, a pinch of salt and lemon juice. Stir well to combine, then pour into the ovenproof dish and spread out evenly (the ground almonds will float to the bottom ). Bake for 45 minuets.
Meanwhile, put the pine nuts in a large saucepan over a medium heat and dry-roast for 1-2 minutes until golden, shaking the pan frequently. Tip on to a small plate and leave to one side.

Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic, and cook for 5-8 minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon chopped basil, the oregano, crushed chillies/ hot pepper flakes and sugar, and add just enough water to cover. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minuets.

Remove the semi-set Polenta/cornmeal from the oven and stir in the 1 teaspoon oil. If using coconut oil, this will melt immediately. Bake for a further 15 minutes, or until crisp on top. The ground almonds will create a delicious crust. Spoon the tomato sauce over the polenta/cornmeal and scatter over the toasted pine nuts and basil leaves. Add a grinding of black pepper and serve immediately.