Monday, July 5, 2010

Polenta with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Polenta. Otherwise known as cornmeal mush or Italian grits. Really it is just boiled cornmeal, usually served as a side dish to meats and sauces.

Polenta has become one of our favorite side dishes. It is gluten-free, fat free and best of all...

...does not reflect its not-so-appealing definition.

This humble little side dish can be prepared a couple of different ways. I usually soak the coarsely ground corn in a lime water (pickling lime) overnight to help break down the phytic acid, making it easier to digest. Soaking also unlocks the B3 vitamins that are bound up in the grain. This method does take some forethought, but results in a really creamy polenta.

I don't always have "forethought" though.

It's my weakness.

Because I have only one.


Pre-cooked polenta can be found in most grocery/health food stores. It is shelf stable, so often times it will be down the same aisle as rice. One of my local stores keeps it with the refrigerated fresh pasta. I appreciate that.

Takes away the guilt of buying a pre-packaged food.

Polenta with Creamy Tomato Sauce
(recipe from the back of the polenta package)

1/2 cup onion, minced
4 Tb. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry wine (I used a Merlot)
3 Tb. tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tb. cream (light or heavy)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used fresh)

Slice polenta in approximately 1/2" slices. (Poke a hole in the packing over the sink to release the water first, unless you like to see water squirt across the room. Don't ask me how I know this.) Arrange the slices on the bottom of a slightly buttered/oiled baking dish.

Saute onion in butter, over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook a minute or so more. In a separate bowl, mix together the wine, tomato paste and chicken broth. Add it to the onions and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the cream. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the sauce over the polenta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350F. for 15 minutes.

The pictures may not look very appealing, but that is NOT the polenta's fault.

I blame it on the sunshine and the politicians.

After all, somebody's got to take the blame.


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