Tuesdays. The week has just begun, and the chores are only just starting to pile up.

I came home with something new. It was velvety and luscious. A real sauce of a tomato. I set it on the counter and it glowed in the afternoon light. In the fridge, five sausage links were chilling. I took them out and stripped them bare; tossing their casings away, to hang off the garbage bowl haphazardly.

Three shallots were peeled and fell under my knife. I left them in a fine dice. Then did the same with two cloves of garlic.

I pinched the sausage links into bite sized pieces, and the sausage fell apart. The cold meat slowly warmed in my hands as I rounded off each piece between my palms; turning it from turgid strips of meat into soft little balls.

I put my favorite pan on the stove, and gave it a nice glaze of olive oil. I used a sausage ball to spread the oil over the surface of the pan until it glistened. Then I turned up the heat until the olive oil was hot and the pan radiated heat so that I could feel just above the pan’s surface. I nestled each of the sausage balls into the olive oil on the pan; and left them to sizzle.

I flipped my sausage balls and tried to sear each side, or at least get a relatively even coloring on the balls. I then added my shallot, sage, and garlic to the mixture and stirred gently; allowing them to melt into the heat. When the mix was mostly dry, and just starting to get lazy and stick to the pan; I added the new tomato sauce. I had to stir vigorously to convince the shallots and garlic to allow the newcomer access to the pan; but in the end they yielded and melded together like old friends.

I set the timer for 20 mintues.

In a medium pan, I easily brought 4 cups of salted water to a boil. To calm the argument, I whisked in 2 cups of coarse-ground cornmeal. The cornmeal always wants to clump together and not mix, like all good party-goers should. The water, already madly bubbling, calms a bit when the newcomers arrive, but never for long. I kept whisking, and eventually the cornmeal got thick with the water, and the boiling water convinced the cornmeal to get angry and start popping. I reduced the heat and changed from my light-hearted whisk to a solid, flat-bottomed spatula–with which I beat that poor cornmeal until it stopped popping — pulling it up off the bottom of the hot pan and destroying its reason to stay mad. I then covered it and put it back on the reduced heat, repeating the process every time I heard it objectionably pop.

When the timer went off, I popped off the lid to the sausage mixture, and added a can of freshly showered navy beans. They were clean and white, and almost dry. I stirred them in and then added the oregano, and black pepper; tasting as I went.

I took the polenta off the heat entirely and poured it onto a plate. It was putty in my hands. I molded it into a round cake-shape, and left it there to get a grip on itself.

I stirred the sausage mixture one more time and left it to sit on the cold stove for 5 minutes.

Then I cut the polenta into slices, layered them on the plate and added 2 heaping ladle-fulls of Martedi on top.

Dinner was served.

Martedi

Inspired by FayeFood‘s dinner on a Tuesday. Modified a bit. This makes enough for 2 hungry people and a lunch. The recipe doubles and triples well, so long as you have a big enough pan. Stores for up to a week in the fridge, 6 months in the freezer. Feel free to use your favorite type of beans, and any type of sausage. Seasoning should always be to taste.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 5 sausages, casings removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups pureed tomatoes
  • 1 tin beans, well rinsed (any type of beans will do)
  • 2 teaspoon dried sage, or to taste.
  • 3 teaspoons dried greek oregano, or to taste.
  • black pepper, to taste.
Directions
  1. Add the olive oil to the pan, spread it evenly, and turn on the heat.
  2. When the pan feels hot about 1/2 an inch above the surface, add the sausages.
  3. Sear off the sausages in a hot pan. Drain any excess oil.
  4. Add the garlic, onion, and sage. Stir to incorporate.
  5. Add a can of pureed tomatoes and deglaze the pan.
  6. When this has cooked for a good twenty minutes, add the beans, and other seasonings.
  7. Allow to boil down for another 20 minutes. Serve hot over bread, rice, or polenta.

Polenta

The simplest of recipes for twice as much polenta as 2 people need. Takes about 20 minutes to make, most of it unattended.  Best served with a meal that has a good sauce. Leftovers can be baked (polenta croutons) & topped (polenta pizza), or used below another dish that has a good sauce. Stores for up to 2 days on the counter, a week in the fridge, and in the freezer for 6 month.

Ingredients
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups coarse-grain cornmeal
  • Salt, to taste
Directions
  1. Salt the water. It should just barely taste salty, like a kiss on the tongue.
  2. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
  3. Whisk in the polenta, break up any clumps that form. Keep whisking until the mixture looks evenly spread out through the water.
  4. Allow to thicken, stirring occasionally to pull it off the bottom and sides. Reduce the heat as you go so that its boiling (popping) doesn’t burn.
  5. Cook for about 20 minutes.
  6. If it is always sticking (and you are forever adjusting the heat to get it to stop popping), add 1/2 a cup of water to the mix and pull it off the heat. Stir well to incorporate the water, and keep it covered.
  7. Pour it onto a plate and shape it into the desired form. Careful – it’s sticky; so use either saran wrap to shape it or a wet spatula.
  8. Let sit for 10 minutes to come together.
  9. Slice and serve.
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