Tuesday, October 18, 2011

As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it.

Polenta is an ancient food, predating even bread.   It is easy, inexpensive and versatile. 
 Originating as a humble peasant dish, polenta began as nothing more than porridge of wheat or bean flour and water. Since the introduction of maize to Europe, the primary ingredient is now corn.  Its modest beginnings as merely a stop gap to starvation have evolved into the classic comfort food it is today.
 Polenta can be served in place of bread with butter and cheese, as a side dish to a meat dish, or as a main dish replacement for pasta.  It’s excellent as a leftover when it’s fried in butter and smothered in cheese. 
Polenta went from a lowly dish of the poor to an important staple. Its simplicity, texture and flavor make it a favorite of mine . . . one that I don’t make often enough.

Easy Polenta with Sausage & Tomato Sauce 

2 Cups Milk

2 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
2 Cups Spaghetti Sauce 
1lb Sausage Meat, Browned
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch square baking dish.

In a large pot, combine the milk and chicken stock. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When it is at a rolling boil, gradually whisk in the cornmeal, making sure there are no lumps. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Pour the polenta into the prepared baking dish.  Top with sausage, spread spaghetti sauce and add cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until sauce is bubbling.

Note:  Although it tasted good, I don't think mine came out right.  It's supposed to be a firm texture, mine was kind of mushy.  I'm not sure what I did wrong.

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