I had to drag out a sweater last weekend, much to my dismay. It’s starting to get chilly in evenings and, I admit, it feels as though we’ve been cheated out of a usual scorching summer. As a result, I’m still waiting for my garden tomatoes to ripen to a full red. The chilly air also had me craving a good hearty meal. When Aurora Importing sent me over a new product: Allessia Polenta with truffles, I saw an opportunity!
Polenta, most commonly made as a boiled cornmeal, is versatile but can take a little while to cook from scratch. As much as I like slow cooking (and there will be more about that next week!), sometimes you just want a substantial dinner on the table, fast. The Allessia Polenta with truffles looked like the perfect option: all natural ingredients, no preservatives or artificial flavours/colours and made with non-GMO corn. We have a winner! The best thing: just add water, stir for 10 minutes, add a drizzle of olive oil and some cheese (if desired). Quick and easy and the exotic taste of truffles was a fancy addition to dinner.
You’ll notice this is a white polenta rather than the usual yellow type made with yellow maize. Ground from white maize from the foot of the Maiella mountain in Guardiagrele found in the Abruzzo region of Italy, this type is popular in northern Italy. The finer grain also makes a creamy, soft polenta, whereas a courser grind would make a firmer polenta great for shaping and frying. Either way, polenta is a filling and healthy addition to a meal.
Sausage and Polenta
4 fresh pork sausages
1 whole white onion
1 jar or bottle of plum tomatoes
1/2 cup Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese (or your favourite cheese)
salt to taste
Allessia Polenta with truffles
Thinly slice the onion. Remove the tomatoes from the jar or can into a bowl and crush gently with your hands to break up any large pieces. In a large frying pan, warm up 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil. When well heated, add in the sausages and onions. Allow the onions to soften briefly while browning the sausage on both sides, about 1-2 minutes each side. Add in the tomatoes and turn the heat down to medium. Add in salt to taste and any other herbs as you desire. Simmer the tomatoes until most of the water is evaporated and the sausages are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile follow the directions for the Allessia Polenta, adding the package ingredients to boiling water and stirring vigourously. When you have the texture you want – I prefer it soft and creamy – add the 1/2 cup of cheese and combine. Spoon out into individual bowls or a large platter and drizzle with olive oil. Top with the sausage and tomato sauce.
Serve piping hot and eat until you get that full belly that makes you want to sleep! A little bit of polenta with each bite of sausage, and a good glass of wine, is the best way to enjoy this family-style dish. This will warm you up when it starts to get a little chilly!