In hindsight, knowing what I now know, I was a touch naive when I plucked the packet of polenta from the supermarket shelves. I had thought I could simply Google how to prepare it, as I had Googled so many food preparation mysteries before. I was feeling adventurous; and I was completely unprepared for how contentious the whole business was.
It seemed the cooks of the internet just couldn’t see eye to eye on this one. For every foodie making a method recommendation, there was another nearby, passionately advocating the contrary. Where did that leave me, the feckless first-time polenta-preparer? To boil the water, or not to boil? To gradually add the polenta, or to gracelessly dump in by the cupful? To dote on and stir it continuously, or to play it cool and check in sporadically? I didn’t know what to do for the best, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I still don’t. A cursory look around the internet will turn up a wealth of blogs, articles, and forum posts penned by cooks far more skilled and experienced than me, with their own recommendations for what you should do. If you’re interested in the perfect polenta, you should definitely review them and make your own informed decision. If, like me, you just want to put a decent dinner on the table – then please do have a go at the recipe below. It tasted pretty good to me!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 6 pork or vegetarian sausages, sliced into 2 cm pieces
- 400g mushrooms
- 1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
- ½ tbsp. of smoked paprika
- ¼ cup of red wine
- 400g can of diced tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup of dry polenta
- 30g grated parmesan
- 40g butter
- Salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and add the onion. Continue to fry until the onion becomes soft and translucent.
- Add the sausage pieces and sauté until cooked through, around 8 minutes.
- Drop the mushrooms into the pan and cook until soft.
- Crank the heat up to high to boil off the water released by the mushrooms, stir the mix constantly throughout this process to avoid food sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the rosemary, paprika, and red wine, and tomatoes.
- Simmer over a low heat until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the polenta. Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a large saucepan.
- Add the polenta to the water in a slow, steady stream.
- Whisk the water vigorously to incorporate the polenta as you add it. Stir regularly; the polenta is cooked when the grains are soft and the consistency resembles scrambled eggs.
To serve, arrange the polenta into a small mound on a plate and spoon the ragu over the top.
Nutrition per serve:
399 calories / 1669 kilojoules, 23.5g of fat, 18.5g of protein, 27g of carbohydrate, 3g of fibre