Piquillo Red Pepper Polenta

Red Pepper Polenta El Farol

Red Pepper Polenta – piquillo pepper and manchego polenta, with a cherry tomato, white wine, and garlic butter sauce.

Recently I was in Sante Fe NM, visiting my son Carlo and his girlfriend Mary for Easter.  For Easter dinner, we went to one of the nicer Santa Fe restaurants on Canyon Road, El Farol Restaurant (https://www.elfarolsantafe.com/).   808 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87501. Open Wed-Sun 3-9 pm.

The El Farol experience combines the classic tastes of Spain with a unique blend of art, dance, flavor, and aroma. El Farol has been called Santa Fe’s most iconic bar and restaurant since 1835.

One of the tapas I had was a polenta dish (Red Pepper Polenta) made with piquillo peppers, Manchego cheese, and a white wine, garlic butter sauce with cherry tomatoes.

El Farol Polenta
El Farol Red Pepper Polenta

So I did what I have been known to do when I ate something at a restaurant that I loved, I called the chef at El Farol, Chef Esteban. Chef Esteban was gracious enough to walk me through the recipe and tell me how this great Red Pepper Polenta dish was made.

Red Pepper Polenta

The first thing to do is puree the piquillo peppers. If you can’t find piquillo peppers, use roasted red peppers.

The next step was adding the liquid ingredients to the saucepan.

Polenta and manchego cheese are then added to the liquid ingredients.

Allow polenta to cool and pour into prepared baking pan. Then cut into your preferred size.

Sauce for the Red Pepper Polenta

Now, it is time to make the Cherry Tomato, White Wine, and Garlic Butter Sauce.

After the polenta has baked in the oven for 10 minutes, it’s time to top with the sauce and taste it.

So, here is my attempt to make this delicious Polenta tapas, courtesy of Chef Esteban of El Farol restaurant in Santa Fe, NM

What makes polenta different from cornmeal?

Polenta and cornmeal are almost exactly the same product, except for one thing: the consistency of the grain. Polenta is much more coarsely ground, which makes the end product less mushy, and it has a little more bite to it than cornmeal.

Piquillo Red Pepper Polenta

Red Pepper Polenta

POLENTA – piquillo pepper and Manchego polenta, cherry tomatoes, white wine, garlic butter sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Polenta Cooling in Fridge: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Appetizers
Cuisine: Latin, Spanish
Keyword: Polenta
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 240kcal


  • 1 can piquillo peppers
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 cups milk Liquid to polenta ratio 3-1
  • 1 cup Water
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Manchego cheese
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • 6-8 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup white wine to deglaze
  • 12 Cherry Tomatoes cut in half


  • Puree piquillo peppers
  • Combine the milk, stock, pureed peppers in a saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil over medium-high heat.
  • Whisk it a few times to stir it all together.
  • Then slowly pour in the polenta while you continue to whisk.
  • Add the polenta very slowly, stirring constantly, or it will end up lumpy.
  • Keep whisking while the polenta cooks for about 3 minutes.
  • Once gthe polenta is cooked, remove the pot from the heat
  • Stir in Manchego cheese after removing it from the heat
  • Pour warm polenta into an oiled 8-by-8-inch square pan and smooth out the top.
  • Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  • Allow cooling in the pan for easier cutting
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Flip polenta onto a cutting board.
  • Brush the top with olive oil.
  • Cut into squares or any preferred size
  • Preheat a baking sheet for a few minutes and place the squares on the sheet.
  • Place the baking sheet in the upper third rack of the oven and cook for 10 min.
  • Meanwhile, make the tomato topping.
  • Let sit until ready to serve.
  • Increase oven setting to broil and cook polenta squares until golden brown on top, about 3 minutes.
  • Transfer squares to a platter and scatter tomato mixture on top.



Liquid to polenta ratio 3-1


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 580mg | Potassium: 53mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 279IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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If you like this recipe for Red Pepper Polentathen you should try our recipe for an Authentic Greek Salad. Or maybe try our recipe recreation from Italy for Roasted Stuffed Peppers.

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