Tomato sauce and polenta; asparagus with orange juice
I came home from work on Wednesday night determined to throw together whatever vegetables were in the fridge and make a pasta dish. When I came home and began emptying the shelves of my refrigerator, and dove into the freezer, and reached into the pantry, I realized I made some discoveries. I saw I had two links of frozen chicken sausage, one spicy and one garlic flavored. In my pantry, I had several varieties of pasta but I also spotted a bag of polenta I hadn’t used in several months, and I thought that would be more exciting than pasta. I was lucky to have several kinds of cheese to choose from, and it felt like the time to jump on polenta, a quick tomato sauce, and easy vegetables on the side. By the way, cutting up asparagus on a 60-something degree night, felt pretty good.
Here’s what we had from least complicated to most complicated:
Broccoli- chopped into short florets. Bring pot of salted water to a boil, let broccoli cook for 5 minutes. Drain. Serve with a few dashes of olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
Chicken sausage – defrosted for about 15 minutes. Chopped into slices. Cooked in pan with several tablespoons of olive oil.
Asparagus- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Chop off ends of asparagus. Sprinkle with about 1 ½ tablespoons olive, salt and pepper to taste and toss. Grate zest of one orange over the asparagus. Cut up orange and place four slices in pan with the asparagus. Roast for 10 minutes. Take asparagus out and grate with a parmesan or pecorino cheese. Roast asparagus for 7 more minutes.
Tomato Sauce- cut up one cup of cherry tomatoes into quarters and halves, alternating. Chop half a red bell pepper. Chop one yellow onion. Chop 2 cloves garlic. Sautee onion for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic, tomato and red pepper, sprinkle with salt, pepper and hot red pepper (if you like it.) Cook for about 10 minutes. Turn down to simmer and keep warm.
Polenta – follow directions on package… but.. Basically… Boil one cup of water. Add polenta and with a wooden spoon stir frequently for about 20 minutes, sometimes as long as 40 minutes. (This time it only took me 20.) When the polenta thickens, it’s done. You will have to taste it to know. I added a teaspoon of truffle oil and half a cup of shredded Monterey jack cheese and stirred again.