Thursday, March 6, 2014

Polenta. It's What's For Dinner

Sometimes full-blown cooking ideas just randomly pop into my head.  This morning when I was trying to figure out what to have for dinner I remembered there was a package of bulk Italian sausage in the freezer and a clamshell of Roma tomatoes that needed to get used up.  I thought that salsiccia would taste good as an ingredient in a chunky tomato sauce.  Instead of pasta, I could serve it on top of polenta.

The funny thing is that I've never made polenta.  However, I watch a lot of cooking shows and didn't think it would be that hard to do.  With a half hour before I had to get ready for work, I did a Google search. The first result was for Giada De Laurentiis' polenta.  I know she has good recipes, so I stopped my search there.

There were four ingredients for polenta:  water, salt, corn meal, and butter.  I boiled the water, whisked in the salt and corn meal, and let it cook on low until the cornmeal was tender and the mixture was thick.  Next I spread it out into a baking dish, then put the dish in the refrigerator.  (After it was in the pan I realized I'd forgotten to add the butter, but the dish turned out fine.)  The whole thing took 25 minutes.

While the polenta was cooking I searched for a sauce recipe.  The first result, Polenta with Sausage Ragu, was from Mario Batali, one of Giada's Food Network buddies.  I used it more as an inspiration than an exact recipe because I didn't have all the ingredients and didn't have time to get them.

After work I browned the sausage, then added chopped onion, garlic, and carrots until they softened up.  I diced the tomatoes and added them to the pot along with a can of tomato sauce, a can of tomato paste, a can of water, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and a little sugar.  The sauce simmered for about 20 minutes.

The last step was to cut the polenta into triangles and broil them in the oven until the edges got crispy.  I cooked some frozen vegetables in the microwave, then plated everything up.  Here's the (really good) result:

Five years ago today: Cover Construction


  1. It's beautiful! And looks really tasty, too! You did great! Yum.

  2. Oh yum! This looks so wonderful!!!

  3. Looks and sounds delicious. I love a bit of Italian sausage cooked into a tomato sauce.

  4. I've never tasted polenta at least I don't remember if I have. What does it taste like?

    1. On its own, not much. If you've ever had grits, it's pretty close. Otherwise, cornbread without any of the crisp edges