Wednesday, February 22, 2012

squash and polenta two ways

Polenta has become one of my go to meals. It's quick, easy and filling, and it takes on delicious flavors from other ingredients really well. I've talked a couple of times about how it's fabulous with sausage (which reminds me that I should make polenta with chorizo again soon), and there's no mistaking how well it pairs with cheeses, like parmesan, goat or blue. Polenta also plays nice with lighter add-ins, like the time I chopped up and added maybe a half cup or so of parsley, which is often thought of a garnish but actually is delicious in its own right. Today, I have two very different takes on polenta with winter squash.

The first is the relatively expected, with nice, sweet roasted butternut squash puree, plenty of olive oil, parmesan cheese, some delicious fried sage and a healthy amount of salt and pepper. Yum.

Pretty straightforward and delicious, and a great use for winter squash, which I do enjoy quite a bit but there are only so many ways I can think of making it. That being said, cheesey sagey butternut squash is anything but unexpected. It's a classic flavor combination, but maybe it would be nice to try something new.

So I did. I started by boiling some squash in a little water, but then I started to get hungry, and I thought, "I don't want to wait first to cook this squash and then make something else to go with it." For some reason the most logical solution for my hunger addled brain was to start to add some polenta and then some lemon juice and finally some cilantro, which was about as strange as it sounds!

This was a much looser polenta than the thick, creamy variety at the top of the post. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but to be honest I'm not sure that citrus and cilantro really get along with polenta or winter squash all that well. I mean, it wasn't a bad dish really, just an odd one. Sometimes hunger makes me do strange things. This was one of those times.

To recap: polenta is awesome, and it likes butternut squash just fine. Make it with parmesan cheese and sage.

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