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Fresh Ideas for whole grain side dishes

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TYLER/SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - Creamy Polenta with Shrimp & Portabella Sauté

Polenta is a finely ground Italian cornmeal that makes a wonderful side dish and is quicker to make than mashed potatoes or rice. You can also mix in chopped tomatoes, cheese, herbs, mushrooms or whatever you like – just as you would with a baked potato.

Polenta is also very versatile. After mixing it in the saucepan on the stove, pour into a greased 9 x 13 or 8 x 8 pan, top with a small amount of olive oil and spread into an even layer. Refrigerate for two hours or until firm and then, using a biscuit cutter, cut out polenta patties. These can be grilled, sautéed or fried. You can also mold them into balls, dip in flour, eggs and breadcrumbs and fry into a croquette or dumpling.

Creamy Polenta

1 cup quick cook polenta (not the polenta in a tube)

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a saucepan add the water, milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil. While stirring, pour in the polenta. Turn off the heat. Continue to stir until polenta thickens. Immediately stir in the parmesan cheese. If a looser consistency is desired, stir in additional milk. Serves 4 to 6.

Shrimp & Portabella Sauté

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 large shallot, minced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 portabella mushroom, diced

1/2 cup white or red wine

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup chopped tomatoes, seeded

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Grated parmesan, garnish

Over medium heat place the olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the chopped shallots and sauté until soft. Add the portabella mushrooms and sauté for an additional two minutes or until mushrooms have released their liquid and are softened. Add the chopped garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add the shrimp and stir to incorporate. Pour in the wine and the lemon juice. Allow liquid to reduce while shrimp is cooking. Turn off the heat when shrimp begin to curl and turn pink. Stir in the butter until melted. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir together to warm through. Place in a serving bowl and top with the chopped basil. Garnish with parmesan cheese. Serve with creamy polenta, over grilled polenta cakes , crusty French bread or pasta.

Recipes by Christine Gardner

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