Cannelloni Beans in Tomato Sauce + Parmesan Polenta

This is a fall-ish dinner. It really is. But let me tell you something. It’s the kind of thing you’re going to want to make on those windy spring days that you have to wear a trench coat just so your skirt doesn’t fly everywhere else. And it might not be 80 degrees yet here in Michigan, and it was totally raining the other day. So there you go.


Also, I can see myself making a rendition of this in the summer months. I mean, maybe I’ll get a fennel bulb from the farmer’s market that wants nothing more than to be in a tasty tomato sauce. I wouldn’t want to take that away from a vegetable that thinks that would be fun.

So to sum things up … this is an amazing and delicious dinner. Joy the Baker is G. This sauce is filled with veggie goodness and the parmesan in the polenta is magic.


Cannelloni Beans + Tomato Sauce + Parmesan Polenta
{Sauce takes 2 hours, just warning you. It’s worth it though.}
Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker


tomato sauce –

  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium fennel bulb trimmed and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • 1 small carrot peeled and shredded
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes or plum tomatoes
  • pepper
  • 1 can of cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed

parmesan polenta –

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese


  1. In a small, heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, fennel, garlic, oregano, pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for 10 minutes. Add shredded carrot and saute for 2-3 minutes more.  Add tomatoes and stir to break up. Add another pinch of salt. Reduce heat to super low (a low low simmer) and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to separate from the oil and the sauce has thickened, about 2 hours. But I never can hold out longer than an hour and a half. Add drained and rinsed beans and stir and continue to simmer and heat throughout until the polenta is done. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Make parmesan polenta when you are just too hungry to wait the rest of the 2 hours. Place 1 cup dried polenta in a medium bowl. Top with one cup cold water. Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized sauce pan bring 2 cups of whole milk and remaining 2 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add salt. Slowly whisk (or stir) the polenta and water mixture into the boiling milk mixture. Turn flame down to medium low. Stir occasionally, until it reaches the desired thickness.
  4. Turn off flame and add grated parmesan cheese. Stir to incorporate.
  5. Serve beans and tomato sauce over warm polenta.


Yeah, it steamed up my camera … in a good way.

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