Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuscan Polenta

Fred has been exercising like a fiend lately. He hiked to the top of Pheifferhorn on Saturday (which to his delight included using his ice axe). The hike took 9 hours to complete and included sliding down a snow field in his shorts. Wednesday he rode his bike many miles UP the 9% grade Little Cottonwood Canyon and then last night he climbed ropes for 4 hours on the granite cliffs near our home. Let's just say his appetite is hearty! This Tuscan Polenta recipe is one of his favorites and even though its more of a cold weather dish I thought I'd make it for him this week.
I start by browning one pound of Harmon's sweet Italian sausage with one medium chopped onion. We have tried a few different sausages in this dish and Harmon's is THE BEST. It may be that they have left out the stronger fennel taste or maybe the red pepper but all I know is we won't use anything else. But I am sure you will be happy with your favorite sausage in this recipe.
I then add one can cannellini beans and one can diced tomatoes. Be sure to rinse the beans. I like the SW brand tomatoes because there is less liquid than other brands I've tried. If you open your tomatoes and it looks too watery, just pour a little out. You will need some though to create a saucy consistency. Heat this all up on medium heat, cooking without a cover until you get a good consistency. Not too watery, not too dry. Is that too vague? (BTW, Fred and I like more beans and tomato so we add an extra can of each. But I drain off the liquid from the second can of tomato)
Next is the polenta. This recipe uses tube polenta. You may have to shop around a bit for this but should be available in the larger grocery stores near the other Italian foods. Split the wrapper down the middle and take off. Cut your slices about 1/3 inch thick (I get 12 to 15 slices), spray or brush olive oil or Pam on each side and grill for 5 minutes on each side.
Place 4 to 6 polenta rounds on each plate and top with your sausage mixture. I add a bit of fresh basil, basil oil or pesto on the side for flavor. Or you can mix it straight in to the sauce. Top wtih shredded parmesan.

Tuscan Polenta

1 pound Italian Sausage
1 Medium yellow onion, chopped
1 -14 oz can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1- 14 oz can dice tomatoes
(salt to taste)

1 tube Polenta
Olive oil
Shredded Parmesan

Brown sausage and onions until sausage is slightly pink. Add tomatoe and beans, making sure to rinse off beans. Cook about 10 minutes on medium high heat or until sausage is done and sauce is
reduced a bit.

Slice polenta in 1/3 inch rounds and spray or brush with olive oil. Grill for 5 min on each side. Place polenta slices on plate and ladle sausage mixture on top. Top with basil or a bit of pesto if you have it as well as parmesan.

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