After last Sunday's post, I had a few emails requesting the recipe for my polenta lunch. Actually, I've got two meatless meals to share with you today using pre-cooked polenta. I've made polenta from scratch before (when I was feeling really ambitious). Sure, it's great...and pretty high maintenance. When you have less than an hour to make dinner, any shortcut helps. I get pre-cooked packaged polenta from my organic grocer in the pasta section for about $4.
It comes in a roll, and all you have to do is slice it up and add the toppings. If you're thinking to yourself, "I've heard of polenta but have no idea what it is...I'll Google it soon." No need! Essentially, it's corn meal. Doesn't sound too yummy, I know. Actually it's mild but still rich and creamy, taking on the taste of whatever you add to it. Polenta is basically the Italian version of grits. I'm betraying my Southern roots by saying this, but I prefer polenta to grits most of the time.
Recipe # 1: Fried Polenta with Crimini Mushroom Sauce
1. Wash and rough chop crimini mushrooms (about 1 and 1/2 cups chopped)
2. In sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add mushrooms and saute 3-4 minutes.
3. Add 1/3 cup of beef broth and 1/3 cup of cream.
4. Sift in 1 tablespoon of flour and stir until it dissolves.
5. Allow to simmer on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes stirring frequently. Sauce will reduce and thicken.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
1. Add several tablespoons of olive or grape seed oil in a pan over medium high heat.
2. Once the oil is hot, add polenta patties. Fry until golden brown on the underside (about 4 minutes).
3. Flip and repeat until both sides are browned.
4. Pour sauce over the fried polenta and serve immediately.
This is one of my favorite ways to eat mushrooms! The polenta complements them so well. If you're a fellow fungi fan, do yourself a favor and try it. (Please excuse the blatant alliteration; I couldn't help myself.)
Recipe # 2: Veggie Polenta Bake
1. Add olive oil to the bottom of a casserole dish and preheat oven to 350.
2. Slice and lay polenta to cover the bottom of the dish. Add a dash of salt.
3. Grate one large or two small zucchini with the course side of a cheese grater. Sprinkle on top of the polenta. (I add squash sometimes too.)
4. Chop onion, peppers, artichokes, olives, and basil. Distribute over zucchini in an even layer.
4. Add about 1 cup of marinara sauce over the veggies.
5. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and add chop mozzarella and grated parmesan cheese.
6. Bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes.
*Because fresh vegetables were used, there will be excess liquid in the dish. You may want to place casserole dish on a baking pan before cooking in case it bubbles over.
This is such a great way to get several servings of vegetables in just one meal. You can really add just about any veggie you've got in the fridge. If you've got a favorite polenta dish, I'd love to hear about it.
Working on a fun post that's "beauty" related. This is a first for LC. Hopefully it'll be up this week. Here's to wishing it was Friday.
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