Sunday, March 15, 2009

Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Parmesan Polenta

From Joy the Baker. A big thank you to Alissa for sharing this site with me!

This was so good that I wanted to dive head first into the pan of polenta.

Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 medium fennel bulb trimmed and chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 teaspoons fresh oregano (I used dried and seasoned to taste)

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

salt & oepper

1 small carrot peeled and shredded

1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes or plum tomatoes (I used crushed tomatoes)

3 cups cooked and drained Borlotti beans (I used one can of canellini beans and it seemed like plenty)

For Parmesan Polenta

1 cup polenta

3 cups cold water

2 cups whole milk (I used a can of evaporated skim milk and added enough regular skim milk to make 2 cups)

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used more and I'm glad I did)

In a small, heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions, fennel, garlic, 2 teaspoons oregano and red pepper flakes, plus a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for 10 minutes. Add shredded carrot and saute for 2-3 minutes more. Add tomatoes and stir to break up. Add another pinch of salt.

Reduce heat to super low (a very very low simmer) and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to separate from oil, about 2 hours. I think I cooked mine for a little over an hour.Add the rest of the oregano, plus more salt and pepper to taste. Add beans and stir to combine.

Now make the Polenta

Place 1 cup of dried polenta in a medium sized bowl. Top with one cup cold water. Set aside.

In a medium sized sauce pan bring 2 cups of whole milk and remaining 2 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add salt. Slowly whisk the polenta and water mixture into the boiling milk mixture. Turn flame down to medium low. The time the polenta takes to cook will depend on weather you’re using fine grain or course polenta. Mine took just minutes to thicken. However long it takes, stir occasionally until you’re reached a desired thickness. Turn off flame and add grated parmesan cheese. Stir to incorporate.

This makes enough to serve 4. We ate 2 servings and ate the rest the next day. The polenta carries over fairly well if you add a smidge of milk and stir a lot. So, so good.

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