I was really looking forward to creating and tasting this dish! I enjoy hearty meatballs and cheese and especially polenta. I remember making polenta as part of another Chefs Plate recipe in the past. I was excited to see what this Meatballs & Cheesy Corn Polenta with basil marinara sauce dish would be like.
As always, Chefs Plate meal kits are straight-forward pre-portioned ingredients with easy-to-follow recipes. To start off this recipe, preheat the oven with a high broil (this will be for broiling the meatballs).
I skimmed the recipe card to see what I had to do in order first. While the recipe called for the polenta to be cooked first before the chopping up of the vegetables and cooking of meatballs, I didn’t want the polenta to be cold so I actually did step two first (cut up the vegetables) and did step one and three and four together.
The vegetables included the peeling and small dicing of the yellow onion, cutting of the zucchini into thin half-moons, and finely chopping the basil.
The polenta is really easy to make. You need a medium pot with three cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt on high heat. You whisk and add the cornmeal. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook and stir occasionally for 16 to 18 minutes until it’s thick and creamy. Add one tablespoon of butter (Chefs Plate doesn’t include this in the meal kit, but we luckily had some butter in the fridge. They anticipate butter is a staple pantry item just like cooking oil and salt and pepper would be, but I know most Asian households don’t have butter at home), add the corn, and add the cheddar cheese and mix together. Set it aside.
Meanwhile, I mixed the ground beef together with the Italian breadcrumbs, all of the Italian seasoning packet, and salt and pepper with my damp hands to form six large meatballs. It was so satisfying to squish the ground beef together with the mixture and into evenly formed meatballs. These were going to be large meatballs!
Then put the meatballs onto the top rack of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes and turn them halfway until they’re browned. They smelled so good and actually leaked out a lot of oil on to the baking sheet when I removed them from the oven.
Next up, use a large pot and heat one tablespoon of butter (again, Chefs Plate didn’t provide the butter in the kit). Then when the pot is hot, add the onions and zucchini to cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remember to stir often and season with salt and pepper.
Then add the rest of the Italian seasoning, crushed tomatoes (this came in two separate packets), and 1/3 cup of water and keep stirring and cooking for 4 to 5 minutes until the marinara sauce is slightly thickened.
Lastly, add the broiled meatballs and three quarters of the finely chopped basil to the pot. Stir it and cover the pot to cook for 5 to 6 minutes. This is to ensure the meatballs are cooked thoroughly through. Add a bit more salt and pepper.
And ta-da! It’s done. Plate the cheesy corn polenta and meatballs and marinara sauce on the plate. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and the remaining basil for presentation, and that’s it.
I really liked the slightly spicy meatballs. They were definitely meaty and so mouthwatering in flavour. It’s best to eat the meatballs fresh and hot!
The cheesy corn polenta was not as flavourful as I imagined even with the cheddar cheese added to it. The corn that was added to it also kind of disappeared into the yellow mixture XD. It was still a good companion to the saucy meatballs though. The marinara sauce was really refreshing and tangy; the crushed tomatoes added so much refreshing flavour to the sauce. Each bite of polenta with the marinara sauce was a great combination.
This dish was meant for two portions, but we had lot of polenta left over in the pot after plating. The hearty polenta and meatballs were very filling.
If you want to try Chefs Plate at home for yourself, you can do so. By clicking this link, you will automatically get four free meals in your cart. It’s a great opportunity for you to try the dishes for free from me to you. Chefs Plate changes up their selection of meat and vegetarian dishes every week, so if you don’t like what is on the menu for the coming week, you can always look ahead to see what is available and choose from there. Happy cooking! 🙂