Friday, July 24, 2009

Beef and Vegetables on Polenta

My neighbors have been so generous in sharing some of their garden bounty. Lots and lots of zucchini and summer squash. I put the zucchini to work in this yummy change of pace for spaghetti. The original recipe comes from Woman's Day.

If you've never had polenta before, it's basically corn mush. Yeah, I know, it doesn't sound incredibly appetizing, but it's really good and it pairs beautifully with this chunky sauce.

The original recipe calls for mixing some Parmesan cheese into the polenta, but we obviously can't do that. However, if you would like a creamier polenta, try substituting all or part of the water in the recipe with your favorite MSPI-friendly milk substitute. You can also mix in a pat or two of MSPI-friendly margarine.

If you're still not sold on polenta -- which would probably make a cheap, homemade baby food! -- you can just put the sauce on pasta. And just leave the beef out for a yummy vegetarian option.

Beef and Vegetables on Polenta

3 cups water
3⁄4 cup cornmeal
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1-1⁄2 tsp. olive oil
1 large zucchini, quartered lengthwise, sliced
1 package (8 oz.) sliced mushrooms
8 oz. lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. chopped fresh (or 1⁄2 tsp. dried) rosemary
1 tsp. chopped fresh (or 1⁄2 tsp. dried) basil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 jar (25 to 26 oz.) MSPI-friendly marinara sauce

Mix water, cornmeal and salt in a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl. Cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on high, whisking every minute, until thick and smooth. This can take 6-10 minutes. Add more salt to taste. The polenta will continue to thicken upon standing.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute zucchini and mushrooms 5 minutes, stirring often, until tender. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Add beef and onion to skillet; cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in rosemary, basil and garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in marinara and bring to a simmer.

Add zucchini and mushroom mixture; heat through. Spoon polenta onto plates and top with sauce.


Cynthia Brundage. said...

How exactly is this vegetarian?

Andrea said...

As I said in my chatter, Cecil, just leave the beef out. If you read the FAQs, I note that I mark recipes as vegetarian because they only require a few changes to do so.