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.