September 20, 2012

Meatballs & Polenta

Technically, not new recipes, simply a serving suggestion: the meatballs are my all-beef Italian-seasoned version of these meatballs here, and the polenta is my all-purpose polenta recipe which you previously saw when I was making polenta fries. This is just how easy it can be to get a good dinner on the table, when you have a stash treasures, such as meatballs, in your freezer (I haven't tried freezing polenta, but I imagine the texture would suffer). We had a tossed salad on the side, but you could add any extra vegetable you like to round out the meal (roasted fennel, anyone?)

The meatballs are somewhat smaller than usual, about half the size indicated in the linked recipe, as they were originally made up as part of a big batch designated for meatball subs, and I find slightly smaller meatballs are preferable in that context (so that you can have more of them, of course). I used a two-tablespoon disher (60 mL, or 1/8 cup) per meatball, and baked them in my usual fashion. Leftovers were briefly frozen on a baking sheet, and then tipped into a freezer bag for storage for another day.

The polenta recipe is particularly unchanged, simply necessitating that you pour it into individual serving bowls as soon as it is cooked, and serve it hot. The texture is a little bit like mashed potatoes - the creamy, finely whipped restaurant style, that is. If you have extra polenta (the recipe makes four servings, served in this manner), you can simply pour it into a baking dish or other small container, and let it set up to make fries (or simply re-heat and eat) at a later date. It would work wonderfully in a bento, although I didn't think of that in time to deal with the leftovers in such a way - I simply plunked slab of cooled polenta on top of the remaining meatballs in sauce, in a standard plastic container.

For the tomato sauce, you can use any one you like, of course. This was, again, a "freezer treasure" - the sauce leftover from making the same meatball subs. Essentially, a simple combination of a little onion and garlic sauteed in olive oil, a 398 mL tin of high-quality diced tomatoes (don't you hate opening a tin and finding it full of stem ends?), fresh oregano and basil, and a little simmering time. Your mileage may vary, of course. A few chile flakes wouldn't be amiss, either.

Reheating the meatballs in the tomato sauce saves time and dishes. Adding a little extra fresh basil as you reheat gives a little lift to the sauce, and makes you forget that you're essentially just eating up leftovers. This can happen almost untended while you stir up the polenta.

Parmesan, of course, is the natural finisher. Mozzarella would also be good, or any grating/melting cheese you fancy.

Now, for those of you following the "convertible to vegan" tag, I haven't completely lost my mind! Here's the fix: Instead of meatballs, use roasted cauliflower chunks, and simply toss them in the sauce for a few minutes before ladling onto the polenta. And as for the polenta, with its pesky sour cream and parmesan? Omit those ingredients in favour of a little silken tofu (beaten well until creamy) and a bit of prepared vegan shredded cheese-substitute. You may need to adjust the salt to your taste, depending on the brand you use. Change the chicken broth to vegetable broth (or just use water, as I sometimes do), and presto: converted to vegan.

1 comment:

realitaliandish said...


I' m Alberto from Italy.

You Have a Best website.

You have many delicious recipes.

I have a blog is a blog of real italian recipesof my family, if you wont take some recipes you can take is a honor for me.

Bye from Italy CIAO.

Sorry for my english.