Creamy, soft polenta with prawns and pesto

Traditionally a staple peasant dish of northern Italy, polenta is now enjoyed worldwide. This creamy, soft polenta recipe with prawns and pesto is a delicious example of how to enjoy this dish

By Julie Le Clerc
  • 10 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
This recipe first appeared in Food magazine.
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  • 4 cup chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • 60 gram mascarpone cream or butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 300 gram raw prawn cutlets, peeled and deveined with tails intact
  • 1/2 cup store-bought basil pesto
  • fresh basil leaves, to garnish


  • 1
    Bring stock to a boil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the salt and garlic.
  • 2
    Sprinkle in polenta in a steady stream, stirring continuously to avoid lumps forming. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, for 3 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the mascarpone and parmesan. Cover and set aside for 2 minutes.
  • 3
    Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a pan; cook prawns for 1 minute on each side or until they turn pink, indicating they are cooked. Toss prawns in pesto to coat.
  • 4
    Stir polenta again before serving in deep bowls, topped with pesto prawns. Drizzle with remaining oil and garnish with basil.


  • If you refrigerate the creamy polenta it will set firm. You can then turn it out, cut it into pieces, and fry. - You can use homemade pesto; simply blend to a puree 2 cups basil leaves, 2 garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons pinenuts, ½ cup olive oil, ½ cup grated parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt. - PER SERVE Energy 128kcal, 537kj • Protein 5.9g • Total Fat 7.9g • Saturated Fat 2.2g • Carbohydrate 7.9g • Fibre 0.5g • Sodium 587mg