Over the years, polenta has become one of my favorite comfort foods. It is so versatile in terms of how it can be prepared, as well as what type of sauce can accompany it. While I have enjoyed it both grilled and baked, I think my preference is to boil it in water with a bit of milk. The creamy texture that results from the almost constant whisking during preparation make it worth the effort.
On this occasion, the polenta served as an excellent canvas for a meaty and savory sauce that required the same amount of time to prepare as the polenta itself. I made 1/2″ diameter meatballs out of mild italian sausage links that I browned in a bit of olive oil. To that I added red onion, garlic and porcini mushrooms and allowed them to soften. I made a reduction of 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and added 2 Tbsp of tomato paste before combining it with the sausage and vegetables. I finished the sauce by adding 1 Tbsp of butter and shaving a bit of parmesan cheese over the top.
The balsamic and tomato paste combined to provide a tangy sweetness that went well with the aromatics and the mild meatiness of the sausage and mushrooms. Ladled over the creamy polenta, the tender meatballs and the crunch of the steamed green beans made for a very satisfying texture.