The Autumn fog has settled onto the valley landscape and created a halo of diffused light. Intensifying the seasons colors and keeping just a little chill in the air.
This is the time of year I pull out the heavier throw blankets and roam the house in search of the warmer socks and slippers. Most of them in various unmarked boxes since our move.
Even the dinner meals become spicier. Rich and flavorful tomato sauces lace the seasons dishes and create a welcome evening reprieve from the shorter and cooler days.
This beautiful dish was inspired not only by the season but by my recent visit to Italy. While pouring through delicious pictures of the loveliest people, mouth-watering food and soul soothing landscape, I knew I needed a spicy pomodoro over creamy polenta this week; and shrimp would make a lovely addition.
If shrimp isn’t on your list of shellfish love, try serving this rich and satisfying sauce with roasted Autumn veggies. It pairs well with roasted eggplant and zucchini as well as sautéed seasonal mushrooms.
Top with plenty of pecorino Toscana and you just might think you were dining in Italy.
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,
Spicy Pomodoro with Creamy Polenta
¼ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (I use California Olive Ranch Arbosana)
½ cup finely chopped onion
2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
Pinch or two of red pepper flakes (I usually add about 1/4 teaspoon) (also a smoked chipotle powder is a fun substitution)
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 – 2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar (if needed)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or ½ teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a sauce pan over medium heat add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the onions to the pan and sauté until golden.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté one minute longer.
Take the pan off the heat (or you’ll be splattered with crushed tomatoes) and stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and basil. Put the pan back on the heat and then bring the sauce to a very slow simmer. Let it cook for about 15-30 minutes. The longer the sauce cooks the richer the flavor.
Stir in the sugar if the sauce is too “bright”. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil before serving.
Add pan seared or grilled shrimp directly to the sauce and let the shrimp swim in the sauce for a few minutes to absorb those delicious flavors and then serve over creamy polenta (recipe below). Garnish with plenty of pecorino Toscana or parmesan.
3 cups whole or 2% milk
2/3 cup quick cooking polenta
¼ cup grated Pecorino Toscana or Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the milk in a 4-quart saucepan, stirring as you bring it to a boil. While stirring, add the polenta. Reduce the heat to low and continue to keep the polenta at a simmer for about 5 minutes. Once the polenta has thickened, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Lightly salt and pepper to taste.