It's December, which means pantry-cooking season has officially begun. Enter this perfect weeknight bowl of creamy polenta topped with a mix of tomatoes, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, and capers all simmered with a little dried herbs and dry white wine.
The combination is a great one. Polenta provides heft (and starchy absorbing properties) so the tomato sauce doesn't have to be cooked to death, just long enough to let the wine, shallot, and herbs infuse. Capers add a salty punch that communicates comfort without adding weight. The artichoke is another great, light foil for the polenta while chickpeas offer protein for extra satiety. What's more, with canned goods and quick-cooking polenta, you have a killer dinner ready in just about half an hour. Plus leftovers.
Chickpeas, Artichokes, and Capers in White Wine Tomato Sauce over Polenta
For the topping:
2 TBSP olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can artichoke hearts (or 6-8 frozen hearts, thawed), drained and chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 TBSP turbinado
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 15-oz cans chickpeas
2 TBSP drained capers
For the polenta (see Note):
1 cup quick-cooking polenta (or grits)
1/2 cup blanched almond meal
1 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
3 cups unsweetened soy milk
3 cups water
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook shallot and salt for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until shallot turns translucent. Add tomatoes (with liquid), chopped artichoke, wine, turbinado, basil, and oregano. Bring to a steady simmer, cover, reduce heat to medium-low (or lower, as needed) to maintain simmer, and let cook 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain and rinse chickpeas. Set aside in a sieve to let drain thoroughly. Measure dry polenta ingredients into a bowl and whisk together.
After the 15 minutes is up, add chickpeas and capers to tomato mixture. Stir, increase heat to medium, and let cook at a strong simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded, 10-15 minutes.
While the tomato mixture finishes, combine soy milk and water in a pot over high heat. When it begins to steam, begin whisking while pouring the dry polenta mixture into the pot in a thin, steady stream, whisking all the while. When all is incorporated, be sure the mixture is bubbling, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook five minutes, covered, carefully whisking the bubbling mixture well once each minute.
Divide polenta among shallow bowls and top with chickpea-tomato mixture. Serve at once.
Note: because this polenta is served soft, it's best to make only the amount you will need at this serving. The polenta recipe scales down perfectly, so feel free to make a quarter of the recipe to feed one (quite generously), or make the full recipe to feed up to six.