If you can find canned cranberry beans, use those for a more traditional Veneto preparation of this dish. You can order cranberry beans at www.ranchogordo.com or substitute either red or white (cannellini) kidney beans. This method of stirring the polenta vigorously between sessions of cooking the grain covered for a few minutes produces superior results. Extravirgin olive oil is commonly used for sautéing vegetables and aromatics in Italy.
1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarse yellow dry polenta
How to Make It
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add parsley and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add sage and tomatoes; cook 12 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and beans to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Bring 4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add polenta in a thin stream, stirring constantly. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Uncover and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Cover and cook 5 minutes; uncover and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Serve polenta with bean mixture.
I used fresh cranberry beans that I had. The recipe went together well. I added some parmesean to the polenta and some wilted spinach to the tomato mixture and even some extra garlic. Unfortunately, the taste was just missing something, just not rich and tasty. I think perhaps the polenta should be made with chicken stock?
really liked this dish - quick and tasty. Don't leave out the fresh herbs, would be dull without them!! Also, as mentioned in another review, my polenta came out really lumpy - i think the instructions should read to stir the polenta in while the water is coming to a boil, not boiling, because the polenta, for me, seemed to cook and clump on contact with the boiling water (i actually just used course ground corn meal, not sure if different?? - any input?). I also took 'bellymama's' suggestion and wilted in some fresh spinach. Having left over for lunch today!
This made a good hearty meal. I wilted spinach into the bean mixture and it went nicely with the tomatoes and beans. We also sprinkled some parmesan and drizzled a little bit of olive oil on top of the dish. Much to my surprise, my two year old ate this. We'll be making it again for a one dish weeknight supper.
Super easy, tasty, and very quick. I didn't make the polenta according to the recipe... I used some pre-made stuff I picked up at the store, cut it into rounds, and browned it in a little olive oil. The recipe makes more than enough for 2 two-person dinners, and is very good the next day. Hearty, delicious, and definitely going into the regular rotation.
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