“Crap, there’s nothing for dinner.” This single thought takes up approximately 5% of all my brain activity on any given day. Having this gem in your repertoire comes in handy on busy weeknights or when you need to look like you tried really hard (i.e. impressing menfolk.) It’s also great because it uses ingredients you probably have lying around saving a fourth trip in one week to the f***ing grocery store. Total time: 45 minutes, max.
- 1 1/2 c. polenta or yellow corn grits (Bob’s Red Mill makes a nice one)– this is a coarse grind of corn, do not use corn meal unless you are trying to make glue
- 3 1/2 c. milk– if you only have skim, top off with a little half-and-half
- salt and pepper
- 3 Tbps. butter
- 1 cup/ handful of shredded parm, romano, etc etc.
- sprinkle of nutmeg if you have some
- 2 eggs, beaten
- jar of favorite red sauce (I am partial to ones with low sugar)
- handful or two of shredded mozzarella
Heat oven to 350 and spray a pie pan. You could also use an 8×8 square casserole dish or whatever.
Bring milk and water to a low simmer in pan and add in the polenta, stirring the clumps out. Add salt and pepper. Cook until it gets gloppy.
Add butter, parm/romano,eggs. Stir the eggs in fast or you get gross cooked egg chunks. Add a few sprinkles of nutmeg. Stir and taste, adjusting salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. It will be almost like drying cement at this point (yum).Pour the whole thing into your whatever pan, pour on about 1 c. of red sauce (I like a little more) and then sprinkle the mozzarella on top. If you’re feeling ambitious, a little dash of dried Italian herbs makes it pretty.
Put in oven and cook until the cheese is brown.
While the polenta is in the oven, make a salad using weird things you find in your kitchen. I found: mixed baby greens, random celery, shaved red cabbage, some carrots, bell pepper, roasted garbanzo’s and sweet potato left over from another night, some pine nuts and dried cherries. You really can’t mess this up. I like Girard’s light champagne dressing, but anything relatively “clear” will do it. Put on like 1/4th the amount of dressing you think you need.
And then, Ta-DA! Dinner that looks pretty and tastes great and required very little time, skill, or effort.