Do you like polenta? I think it’s one of those things that you either like, or you don’t. Maybe all the naysayers have never really had properly prepared polenta! Yesterday was a cold, somewhat rainy, blustery day here in San Diego and it seemed like a great evening for a hearty supper.
While perusing my cookbooks looking for some other recipe, I ran across a recipe for polenta with sausages served in a a ragu and this got me thinking-we should have something like this tonight! I knew that I had some Italian corn meal in the freezer and it was just a matter of whipping up a tomato sauce simmered with plump, freshly made Italian sausages. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make braciole (or at least what my grandmother called “braciole”) and I quickly gathered the round steak, bread crumbs, parmesan, pine nuts and parsley and readied the braciole for the sauce.
When I first started making polenta I used instant and it was probably prepared, poured into a pan until cooled, then cut into little squares to use as an appetizer. I then moved on to serving it as a side dish with an entree, sometimes cooling it, then frying in butter and serving. My next attempt was the “non-instant variety” that you cook by standing over the stove and stirring and stirring. This really does taste better than the instant type, but you have to have the time time to actually stand there and stir.
A few years ago I discovered this wonderful recipe in the New York Times and now it’s the only way that I make polenta. This method gives you the luxury of being able to do other things in the kitchen, entertain guests, or just lie on the couch and read a book while the polenta is cooking! Topped with the sausages, braciole and tomato ragu, the polenta was the perfect meal for a winter evening.
Wet Polenta with Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup medium coarse ground cornmeal (preferably organic stone ground)
1 quart water
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly grated parmegiano reggiano
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a nonstick 3 quart skillet with olive oil. Pour cornmeal, with water, butter or olive oil and salt in a skillet. and stir until well blended. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes and season to taste. Bake another 5-10 minutes. Let polenta stand for 5 minutes. Cover with parmigiano reggiano and serve. Serves 4.
If you don’t top the whole serving with cheese, you can save the leftovers and in the morning fry in butter and top with butter and maple syrup-delicious!