Over the years with no one home but two, most of my friends have quit cooking dinner opting for takeout or restaurants. That works for me every now and then, but I still enjoy preparing the evening meal because there are so many things to try. That makes the hubby very happy as he’d rather eat at home any day!
Another friend and her hubby are the same, so every week or so we share a meal. They are not meat eaters which at first made meal planning a challenge, but it has gotten easier and done creatively, those meatless meals are downright tasty.
For ideas, I go no farther than these two cookbooks loaded with recipes to suit any palate. There’s no chance I’ll ever get through the two!
The last dish tried was a mushroom/asparagus/cannellini bean combo that was so tasty not a bite survived. Of course, meat lovers could add chicken or pork to go with it, but when something is as good as this it’s really not necessary. Enough said, I’ll share the recipe!
Polenta with Asparagus, Mushrooms & Cannellini Beans
1 1/2 c. vegetable stock
1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 T. olive oil
1 bunch green onions, including as inch or so of green, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
15 oz. can cannellini beans
1 brunch of asparagus, steamed or roasted
1/2 c. Parmesan (serve on the side for a vegan friend, otherwise add it to the cooked polenta)
1 T. butter (can be left out)
chopped basil, parsley, chives or marjoram for garnish
Make the polenta using a packaged mix or yellow cornmeal cooked with water over a double boiler. While it is cooking, do the chopping and mincing required to prepare the sauce.
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the mushrooms, season with sea salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes over medium heat. (It may be necessary to do the mushrooms in 2 batches depending on the size of your pan.) Add most of the scallions and garlic and cook for another minute. Then pour in the stock and add the beans. Simmer until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes.
When ready to serve, add the butter and the remaining scallions to the mushrooms. Spoon 1/2-3/4 c. of polenta into the center of a plate. Arrange asparagus around it and spoon the sauce over the polenta. Garnish with chopped herbs.
What I like about this recipe is that it’s pretty easy to fix and all you really need to go with it is a hearty, crusty bread to use for soaking up the liquid. Don’t be surprised when appreciative moans accompany this dish!
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