Asparagus and Broccoli Rabe Over Polenta Recipe

By Staff |

Recipe by Joanne Bruno

Some people’s happiness tends to hinge on asparagus season and while you could purchase asparagus out of season, you sometimes get shunned for things like that here.  Yet when that first locally grown asparagus finally decides to show its ruddy little face at the grocery store or farmer’s market it is advisable to buy it in bulk and find opportunities to creatively experiment with it.

Those first batches, especially, which are sweet and young, need nothing more than a quick roast in the oven.  Or to be tossed with broccoli rabe and chickpeas and a dash of lemon juice, all of which is then thrown over some polenta, as is done here.  Quick, simple and for the lemon lovers out there – utterly delicious.

Prep Details

Servings: 4

Calories per serving: 230 per serving

Prep time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 40 mins

Total time: 55 mins



4 cups veggie broth

2 cups water

2 cups polenta

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp dried basil


1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup veggie broth

1/2 tsp dried basil

black pepper, to taste

zest of 1 lemon, freshly grated

juice of half a lemon

1 tsp cornstarch

1/4 cup water

Asparagus and Broccoli Rabe

1 bunch asparagus, about a pound, woody ends cut off and cut into 1-inch segments

1 bunch broccoli rate

zest of 1 lemon, freshly grated

juice of 1 1/2 lemons

salt, to taste


Photos: Joanne Bruno

1. Bring the 4 cups veggie broth and 2 cups water to a boil in a deep saucepan. Slowly whisk in the polenta, garlic, and basil. Reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring frequently in order to prevent sticking. Cook until very thick and smooth. Season with salt to taste.

2. While the polenta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet and saute the onion until it is browned, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and chickpeas, and cook for one minute. Add the broth, basil and black pepper and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the lemon peel and juice. In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water until dissolved. Pour into the pan, stir to mix, and then simmer until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once it boils, toss in the asparagus and broccoli rabe. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Strain. Toss with lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt, to taste.

4. Portion out the polenta into four bowls. Top each with the chickpea mixture as well as the asparagus and broccoli rabe mixture.