Friday, November 7, 2008

Tomato Braised Beans with Polenta

I received this recipe recommendation from my friend Erica, as we were swapping high-protein recipes to make sure we were both getting enough nutrients for our growing baby bellies. It's always fun to try a friend's family favorite, so I jumped on this one right away.

I rarely cook with polenta, not sure why. It's delicious, and this recipe was fantastic! It might need to be a new years resolution to make/eat more polenta.

I will say that making the polenta was a bit tricky, or at least, I thought so. However, since making this recipe, I've read other polenta making reviews/tips, and think I'd have an easier time of it in the future. It requires constant attention and stirring, so be forewarned. But, the result is worth it.

Tomato Braised Beans with Polenta
from CookingLight

2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarse yellow dry polenta

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add parsley and garlic to pan; saute 1 minute. Add sage and tomatoes; cook 12 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates (only took me about 4 minutes).

Add black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and beans to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Polenta: (I am using alternate polenta cooking instructions, as the original recipe did not work well. But I kept to the original recipes measurements and ingredients)

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 1 cup polenta in a very thin stream. You should be able to see the individual grains spilling into the pot. As you are adding the polenta, stir it with a whisk, and make sure the water is always boiling.

When you have added all the polenta, begin to stir it with a wooden spoon. Stir continuously, bringing the mixture up from the bottom of the pot and loosening it from the sides. The mixture will form the correct consistency of polenta in 35-45 minutes, when it forms a mass that pulls cleanly away from the sides of the pot.

Serve polenta warm with bean mixture on top, and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Yields 4 servings.

More polenta recipes:
- Zucchini Polenta Tart, from Chocolate & Zucchini
- Baked Polenta Fries, from 101 Cookbooks (I think these would be great with a smoky-tomato salsa)
- Polenta Cookies, from Serious Eats
- Olive Oil, Grape and Polenta Cake, from Baking Bites

Guten appetit!

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