Polenta is my traditional Fat Tuesday meal. It’s really the sauce that makes it just right for this day, also known as Mardi Gras or if you’re Italian, Carnevale. On this day, the richest and meatiest foods are served just before the Lenten season of fasting begins. Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday which officially commences Lent. Some people eat donuts or fried foods, but I prefer a good hearty polenta with a meaty sauce made from sausage. Traditionally Lent is observed by refraining from meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday until Easter. Many in my grandparents generation abstained from meat during the entire forty days of Lent leading up to Easter. You can see why Fat Tuesday was celebrated with rich foods.
- 6 cups water
- 1 cup ground cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon butter
- Bring 6 cups of water and the salt to a low boil over high heat
- Then very slowly pour in the cornmeal stirring constantly
- The addition of the cornmeal will stop the boiling process
- Continue stirring the cornmeal, breaking any lumps until the mixture comes back to a boil
- Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring to keep the cornmeal from clumping, adjusting the heat so that the mixture is at a very low simmer
- After about 15 minutes add the butter
- Continue cooking over low heat and stirring for another 15 to 25 minutes until the polenta has thickened
- Top with meat sauce and grated parmigiano cheese and serve immediately
Check out the post Polenta: The Perfect Meal to Make With Your Sweetheart where we talk about this recipe.
You might also enjoy Mom’s Meat Sauce for a slight variation on the sauce described above.