When you think about wine country, images of France, California, Australia, Germany, or Italy may come to mind. For me, it's always Italy that comes to mind first. I love Italian cuisine and this meal is one of my all time Fall favorites. I play with the concept of saltimbocca and a side of delicious seasonal polenta for this month's Virtual Supper Club theme. Jerry has asked the club members to dish up a tribute to wine country and we have all done our best! While I am having this polenta with pork saltimbocca, Jerry has made a gorgeous Roasted Breast of Chicken with Pinot Noir Sauce. I think my pumpkin sage polenta will complement ! Let's see what else is on the menu!
October's Tribute to Wine Country
Celebratory Beverage- Shelby's Honey Crisp Apple Sangria
Appetizer - Sandi's Chardonnay Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus
Soup - Val's Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup
Main Dish- Jerry's Roasted Breast of Chicken with Pinot Noir Sauce
Side Dishes - Susan's Creamy Pumpkin -Sage Polenta
Dessert- Sarah's Stilton Stuffed Pears
It's the perfect time of year to begin bringing out the pumpkin recipes and this Pumpkin Sage Polenta is a beautiful way to bring a savory treatment of pumpkin and corn to the table. I have a huge sage bush right outside the back door, so fresh beautiful leaves are plentiful. The recipe I chose comes from the Cooking Light website. I used Mascarpone cheese instead of Neufchatel and a coarse grind polenta that takes a bit longer to cook than the instant polenta that the recipe calls for. I prefer the texture of coarse polenta over the more 'grit-like' instant stuff.
It's a beautiful side dish - a soft pumpkin flavour that melds with the earthy sage undertone - a bit of light cheesiness - and the body and base of corny polenta. Delicious! I wonder how everyone else's dishes are stacking up? Guess I'll pop over to their sites by hitting the links in the menu description.
... the perfect fall side dish ...
a Cooking Light recipe
Serves: 8 (a ¾ c. serving each)
2 ½ c. 1% milk
2 c. water
¾ c. canned pumpkin
1 ¼ tsp. salt
1 ¼ c. instant dry polenta (I prefer conventional course grind polenta)
¾ c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. Neufchatel or Mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
ground white pepper, to taste
¼ c. grated Parmesan for topping the polenta servings
Making the Dish:
- Place the milk, water, and salt in a deep and heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Stir in the pumpkin and whisk to combine.
- Gradually stir in the polenta, whisking as you sprinkle it into the mix.
- Reduce the heat to low and continue whisking to make a thick, smooth mixture.
- Remove from the heat when the polenta has just a bit of bite to it.
- Stir in the Parmesan and the Neufchatel cheeses and the sage.
- Taste for saltiness and add some ground white pepper if you like.
- Mound a serving on a plate, garnish with some more chopped sage or a sage leaf and sprinkle on some more Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
An Afterward - It occurred to me that I might share the wine label that we drank with this beautiful meal, since we're honoring a visit to wine country! I chose an Italian red wine from Tuscany. It is bottled by Carpineto and it's a medium-bodied Sangiovese and Cabernet blend. Our bottle was 2011 vintage - young, but still having nice body. It's terrific with grilled meats and pizzas. I don't think it holds up to heavier tomato-based saucy Italian dishes, but that's just my opinion. Still, it is 'bang for your buck' a good bottle, as it comes in under $15 a bottle.