Monday, May 6, 2013

Meatless Monday: Pepper Polenta and Red Sauce

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I'm realizing, more and more, that the iPhone photos aren't cutting it. I'll fire up the Canon again soon.

Sundays are for waking after the sun has risen, listening to in-the-spirit morning radio programs, dressing for church, playing ball in the backyard, eating brunch, pushing a stroller in the park and taking an afternoon drive with your sunglasses on.

Then again, maybe that's what Sundays are all about. Maybe not.

Maybe Sundays are about watching it rain, putting away groceries, folding laundry and ripping open the cardboard on a mixed case of Saranac. Maybe they're about watching babies roll around on a homemade quilt from their great-grandmother, stopping them only long enough to pull their tiny hands away from the dogs' tails.

Two things I know for sure, though: Sundays are for family. And Sundays are for red sauce.

Peppery Polenta and Red Sauce

(Serves 4)

For the polenta:
3 cups water
salt, about a teaspoon
1 cup Bob's Red Mill corn grits (also known as polenta)
Crazy Jane's Mixed-Up Pepper

For the red sauce:
extra virgin olive oil, about 1-2 teaspoons
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
Italian seasoning
Crazy Jane's Mixed-Up Pepper

For serving:
balsamic reduction

Bring the water and salt to a boil over high heat. Carefully stir in the polenta. (It can pop and splatter, so be careful!) Turn the heat to low; stir in 1-2 teaspoons pepper, and simmer the polenta, stirring frequently until it is nice and thick. Taste as you go and add more salt, if necessary. (It will take about 30 minutes for the polenta to thicken.)

While the polenta is getting thick, heat the olive oil and minced garlic on low until it starts to get fragrant. Then add in the tomatoes, some Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper, to taste. Turn the heat up, and bring the tomatoes to a boil, stirring regularly. Turn the tomatoes back down and allow to simmer until the polenta is done cooking.

Once the polenta is thick, spray a serving dish with nonstick cooking spray. (I used an 8x8 casserole dish, and I quickly realized this was too big. I'd aim for a 5x7 dish, if you have one.)

Spoon the polenta into the dish and flatten. Allow to rest about 10 minutes.

Cut the polenta into squares and plate. Top with tomatoes, Parmesan and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.



  1. Yeah, I agree; Sundays are for all those things. Naps too. Don't forget naps.

    How fun to still see you doing the meatless meals. I remember your husband's somewhat lackluster response to the endeavor when you first started it. Apparently you've worn him down? With food like that polenta, it's no surprise. :)

    1. Every once in a while we still manage to pull off a Meatless Monday meal. And surprisingly enough, the husband is whining less and less about them. Ha. He actually told me the other night when we ate something (beans and rice, maybe?) that he could have even skipped the chicken I served. What a man!

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