That’s SO Jenn Ingredient Challenge Night 3: Garlic Baked Polenta with Red Clam Sauce

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We’ve made it mid-week and I have to say I’m really enjoying this experience. I get a thrill out of the creativity from limited options, and actually find it less overwhelming than perusing the aisles of the grocery store to decide what to make. It’s like those mystery baskets on Master Chef, without my career on the line.

Want to know what I found in the cabinet yesterday? Canned clams. I know it’s not the real deal (How surprising would it have been to find fresh ones in my pantry?!), but it certainly set the tone for what I wanted to make. Linguine with clam sauce is by far one of my favorite dishes, but I didn’t have any long noodles in stock. I thought about one of the best parts about eating it and realized it wasn’t the pasta itself, but that moment when you’re left with the sauce at the bottom that just begs to be sopped up by a piece of bread.

So, I played around with a roll of polenta, cut it in half so Hubby and I would each have a ‘loaf’ and prepared it like garlic bread. It was treated with a brush of olive oil, minced garlic and parsley before being baked it in the oven. While it wasn’t something to lift and dip, it was certainly porous enough to help soak up the sauce, and held up impressively to its counterparts.

I added marinated artichokes and a can of cannellini beans to my sauce for a hearty texture and additional protein. To humor my chefy side, I sprinkled the dish with some pink finishing salt to bring out the seafood flavors. In the end? A satiating meal with the bowls licked clean. I’ll take it.

Ingredients:

1 roll polenta (This preparation serves 2 adults)

1 (6 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts

1 (15.5 oz.) can cannellini beans

1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes

1 (6.5 oz.) can clams

Half a lemon, cut into wedges

About 3 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon parsley

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil cooking spray

Pink sea salt for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut polenta in half lengthwise and place on a cookie sheet.

Spray with olive oil and top each with about half a tablespoon minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for about 25 minutes. Place under broiler until richer in golden color.

 Spray pan with olive oil and sautee 2-3 tablespoons garlic for about one minute. Add entire jar of artichokes, including the oil.

Use your spatula to separate the artichokes into smaller pieces.

After a few minutes, add beans.

Allow to cook for another minute or two and pour in tomatoes.

Add clams, including liquid, and simmer for a few minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t become chewy.

Season with 1 tablespoon parsley and crushed red pepper. Taste first and add salt and pepper if desired.

Spoon sauce over polenta. Serve with lemon wedges and top with pink salt just before serving.

Eat and enjoy to the last drop!

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