Friday, July 27, 2012

Mom Meals: Polenta Party!

The day of Leah's dedication, we decided to have everyone come back to our house for lunch instead finding a restaurant.  Since I don't have the luxury of laboring away in the kitchen to prepare food, I was looking for something yummy but easy to make for a large party.  I was watching one of my favorite shows, The Chew, and they were having a "Polenta Party."  I tried it out for the lunch with some modifications, and it ended up being the perfect combination of yummy, fun, and easy to make for entertaining.  Try it out the next time you have company!  

Polenta Party! original recipe by Michael Symon
Serves 6, very easy to double or triple for a party 

For the Polenta Base (this is where I modified the recipe): 
1 package Food Merchant Basil Garlic Pre-Cooked Polenta
1 can Chicken Stock
1/4 cup Mascarpone
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano (grated)
Kosher Salt

1. Cut polenta into ¼ to ½ inch slices and heat in a sauce pan.  As polenta softens, break up the slices
2. Add small amounts of chicken stock and stir until desired thickness/creaminess is achieved
3. Add marscapone and parmigiano reggiano and stir
4. Add salt for taste

For Sausage Polenta:
1 pound Italian Sausage (skin removed)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Onion (minced)
2 cloves Garlic (sliced)
1 28 ounce can San Marzano Tomatoes
1/2 cup Parsley leaves (chopped) 

1.  In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and then add the sausage, browning and rendering the fat
2. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, about 4 minutes
3. Add the san marzano tomatoes and a generous pinch of salt. Finish with parsley. Remove from heat.

For Spring Vegetable Polenta:
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Onion (minced)
2 cloves Garlic
1 pound Peas (shelled)
1 bunch Asparagus (cleaned and cut into coins)
1/2 cup Mint leaves only (torn)
2 tablespoons Parmesan
2 tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup Water

1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and then add the onion, once softened, about 4 minutes, add the garlic and asparagus. Season with a pinch of salt. Once asparagus is more tender, about a minute, add the peas. Sauté another 2 minutes and then remove from heat and stir in the mint, parmesan, butter and water

To Assemble Your Polenta: Pour the polenta over a cool marble slab (or bowl) and top with the filling of your choice.  Garnish with a little parmesan and enjoy

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