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::cooking for two:: Polenta with Meat Sauce

This meal was so good I don’t even know where to start. Really, anytime I try and new recipe for fresh made sauce, I end up in love. It was such a satisfying meal and perfect for a cozy night. Rather than an all day affair, this recipe makes a quick and easy “bolognese” and you only need to dirty a skillet, a small food processor, a couple small bowls, and a larger oven-safe bowl. Two pasta bowls will hold this meal quite nicely. Mmmm…Just typing about it makes me want to make it again soon!

I know it seems like a lot of steps, but I promise it is EASY.

What You Need:
skillet
blender
food processor
oven-safe bowl
200° F oven
Step One
1/2 slice white sandwich bread
2 tsp. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Step Two
8oz 85% lean ground beef
Step Three
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I used Muir Glen Fired Roasted with Garlic)
Step Four
2 tsp. olive oil
small onion, minced
Step Six
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 tsp dried oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes
Step Eight
Tbsp grated Parmesan
Step Nine
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup polenta (do not use quick cook!)
Step Ten
minced garlic clove
2 Tbsp. butter

All your ingredients are ready to go? Since this is a recipe for two, you can stick with a tiny food processor. I use the Cuisinart mini-prep and it”s 3-cup work bowl is perfect for almost all of my recipes for two! Put all of your step one ingredients in, and pulse about 5 times until it forms a paste. Add the beef and pulse another 5 or 6 times until it is well combined. Empty into a bowl. Add the can of tomatoes to the processor and blend until finely chopped. About 15-20 seconds. Transfer to a bowl.

Next to the stove! Heat the olive oil in your skillet until shimmering over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to brown. About 6 minutes. Stir in all of your step six ingredients and stir until fragrant (~30 sec). Stir your processed meat into the skillet breaking up any pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until the beef loses its raw color, but do not brown it. Stir in your tomatoes, once bubbling, reduce heat to a simmer and allow sauce to thicken (~15 min). Stir in Parmesan, transfer to oven-safe bowl, cover, and place in oven to keep warm.

Wipe your skillet out with a paper towel (doesn’t need to be COMPLETELY clean). Add the water and milk to the skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Since you are working with milk, I highly recommend not leaving the kitchen while it heats. Milk goes from simmering to GIANT foaming mess in seconds. Once boiling, stir in a bit of salt and slowly add the polenta. Be sure to constantly stir. Once all the polenta is stirred in, reduce the heat to low and simmer the polenta, stirring quite often. You want all the liquid to be absorbed and the mixture to me smooth and creamy. This should take about 10 minutes, but up to 15. Remove the skillet from heat, add your step ten ingredients, and portion into your individual serving dishes. Add your meat sauce on top, and if desired top with some more grated Parmesan.

Since this is such a cozy-on-the-couch kind of meal, I highly recommend pairing it with your favorite glass of wine 🙂

Serves: 2       Cost: >$4/serving

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