If polenta were a country, I would like to be president. President of the People’s Republic of Polenta. The United States of Polenta. Polentaland.
You get the idea.

Polenta is just one of those great things that you can do pretty much everything with. I like to make it in place of potatoes or rice. I don’t like to add to much to it, but just a little butter, a handful of Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of salt and pepper is all you need.

I’ve had a big bag of it sitting in my pantry and it was time to put it to use! I scoured my pantry to find a bunch of cans of diced tomatoes so I served it under said tomatoes and shrimp and called it dinner. A very good dinner. This is actually a pretty inexpensive meal and it is very simple, but it looks elegant which basically makes it the perfect meal to serve your family, dinner guests, or anyone else that you are wanting to impress which will be very important if you want to be the president of Polentia.

  • 1 1/2 lbs. medium frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cornmeal (polenta)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 tbs. unsalted butter
  • handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. In a saute pan, heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp and saute for about 3 minutes or until the shrimp is slightly translucent. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
  2. Leaving the pan on the heat, add in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Pour the can of tomatoes into the pan, including the juice. Then fill the can with water and pour it into the pan. Stir everything together and let simmer for about 8 minutes until the tomatoes start to break down. Remove from the heat when done cooking.
  3. While the tomatoes are cooking, bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of skim milk to a light boil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in the cornmeal and cook for about 10-15 minutes, whisking frequently, until the liquid is absorbed and the polenta is cooked. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spoon some of the polenta into a shallow bowl, then spoon on some of the tomato sauce, followed by the shrimp. Feel free to garnish with fresh parsley, basil, and additional Parmesan cheese. Serve.

Yield: SERVES 4                  Total time: 35 MINUTES            Prep time: 10 MINUTES 
Cook time: 25 MINUTES