A spicy, vegetarian version of my favorite puttanesca sauce goes gluten free when served over a bed of creamy, parmesan polenta.
I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to the holidays this year. No really, I am. It will be the first time in over 12 years that I won’t be cooking for clients during Christmas and New Years. 12 years! Do you believe that? For twelve + years I’ve worked on Christmas. And New Years and every day in between. I’ve been so blessed to have such great clients and up until this year I’ve been happy to cook for them but since having kids, it’s gotten harder and harder to be away. I usually end up feeling guilty on top of being stressed from working so much and the two combined is a lethal combo. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I don’t know what it’s like to have a holiday season where I’m not constantly rushed, running and gunning, only to never really get ahead.
I know in part it’s because I’m usually working so much coupled with the fact that the kids are out of school, an endless traveling husband, umpteen holiday parties, a mile long shopping list, and hosting family… it’s impossible not to feel stressed out. (Just talking about it makes me sweaty.) This year I vow that things will be different. I will say no to the things I feel obligated to and only say yes to the things that I want to. I will put a priority on spending time with my kids rather than shopping in a crowded store for the newest and latest gadget. I WILL SLOW DOWN.
It’s inevitable that I will spend a lot of time in the kitchen- it is what I do after all. But I hope that when hosting friends and family, I can take a less is more approach and keep things simple. One of my favorite things to make when I’m entertaining during the holidays is Italian. It’s quick, filling (great for hungry skiers!) and I can usually whip something up from what I have in the pantry. When Del Monte® challenged me to come up with a holiday inspired recipe that relied on one of their garden quality™ products from the pantry, I knew immediately I wanted to make a puttanesca. It’s my favorite red sauce and I almost always have the ingredients on hand.
Canned tomatoes very well might be my favorite pantry item of all time. The versatility is unparalleled- like the Beyonce of the vegetable world. Del Monte® tomatoes are California grown, and are picked and canned usually within the same day. Studies show that because of the canning process, canned tomatoes are actually higher in antioxidants and vitamins than fresh. Cha-ching! It’s like a garden in your pantry but without all the weeding and watering! The stewed tomatoes with garlic and oregano are perfect for this recipe. Combined with sautéed onion, garlic, capers, kalamata olives, and a pinch of chili flakes, this is literally done in 20 minutes. Easily doubled and great for a crowd, this is a great go to recipe for making the holidays less stressful. This particular puttanesca gets a kick of protein from canned garbanzo beans. Instead of the usual pasta, I opted for a creamy, parmesan laden polenta. Even my meat eating husband approved!
The great folks at Del Monte® have recently launched a new label design and are hoping to spread the word on how easy it is to build a garden in your pantry with their canned fruits and vegetables. As a little incentive, they’re also giving away a $100 gift certificate to Crate and Barrel to one lucky reader. Hello, holiday shopping! (I’ll gladly send you my wish list if you’re wanting to get me a present. Just saying.) All you have to do for a chance to win is tell me in the comment section below what your favorite fruit or vegetable to stock in your pantry is. If you want some more pantry inspiration, visit the Del Monte® Facebook page for more recipes and information. Here’s to a less stressful holiday season, everyone. Happy cooking!!
- 1/2 cup polenta
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2-3 tablespoons half and half
- Chickpea Puttanesca:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 2-3 cloves finely minced garlic
- 1 (14 oz) can Del Monte® Stewed Tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
- 1 (14 oz) can Del Monte® Petite Diced Tomatoes
- 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed basil
- 1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (14 oz) can garbanzo beans
- fresh basil (optional)
- In a medium sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Slowly stir in polenta and salt. Bring back to a boil and then immediately turn to low and let polenta simmer about 30-40 minutes. Add a tablespoon or two of water if polenta gets too thick.
- Off heat, stir in parmesan cheese, butter and half and half. Check for seasoning and add a pinch of salt if desired. Keep warm until ready to serve.
- For Puttanesca Sauce:
- In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes.
- Add the kalamata olives and capers and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.
- Add both cans of tomatoes and simmer until the sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, about 20 minutes.
- Add garbanzo beans, and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Divide polenta between 4 plates and top with puttanesca sauce. Garnish with basil if desired.
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