It’s been cool, damp and rainy (really rainy) around this little section of northeast Ohio! Not really grilling weather, even though Memorial Day is just about upon us! Usually, once the end of May hits, we spend most evenings outside by the grill, but not the past few days! So, I prepared one of my favorite “Grandma Rose” recipes last night, Polenta with Home Style Marinara Sauce. Polenta, a northern Italian dish, is made of cornmeal. It can be made from white corn meal, buckwheat or golden cornmeal (which is what I have always used). This dish is eaten hot with a sauce, gravy or butter and cheese. Often, polenta can be cooled until firm and pan fried until golden brown and served with butter and syrup for breakfast. I have many fond memories of my Grandmother making this same dish. except she used to call it mush. The basic difference between mush and polenta is that polenta is made from a coarser grade of cornmeal. My grandmother would either serve this with gravy or home made marinara sauce (my favorite!) If you prefer to use your favorite brand of canned sauce, please do so. But, home made sauce is not hard and has a taste like no other! Start your sauce first and let it simmer while you make the polenta. Try this for dinner!
Polenta with Home Style Marinara Sauce
For the Sauce:
2-28 oz. Cans Diced Tomatoes
1 6 oz. Can Tomato Paste
1/2 Large Sweet Onion
6 to 8 Cloves Fresh Garlic
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Dry Red Wine
3 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Cane Sugar
For the Polenta:
1 3/4 Cups Coarsely Ground Yellow Cornmeal
5 Cups Water
1 Tbsp. Butter
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Prepare the sauce first:
Peel the onion and the garlic cloves; mince both finely.
Place the olive oil in a large stock pot and heat over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and onion. Brown lightly, about 5 to 6 minutes stirring frequently.
Lower heat to low and add tomatoes, wine, oregano, pepper and cane sugar. Cover and let simmer for about 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now prepare the polenta:
Place the water in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Whisk in the cornmeal slowly in a very thin stream. If you add it too fast, it will lump. Add the butter.
Lower the heat to low and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is very thick, about 15 to 20 minutes or until it pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Pour polenta into a serving platter and top with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese.
Serves 6 to 8