Peas, Squid and Polenta is the typical main we prepare on Christmas Eve. We don’t usually eat meat on the evening before the big Christmas lunch. It’s just the perfect warm, comfort food, and it’s ready in less than an hour. The rich, spicy and salty flavor of the squid it’s perfectly balanced by the sweet green peas and velvety yellow polenta.
Polenta is the typical dish from Nothern Italy, indeed we’re called also Polentoni – people eating a lot of polenta. It’s a very cheap and it has for long be the staple food of the plan cooking in the alps. It can be cooked in many different ways, and we usually prepare it in bunches, and then cut it into pieces and grill it the next day. I personally prefer the polenta being a bit creamy, as it solidifies once cooled down. Also, it usually tastes quite bland, but paired to salty and rich foods, such as squid, baccala, cured meat and strong cheeses.
Even though we love to eat this on Christmas Eve, we tend to have it anytime we fell a bit homesick. It reminds us of Venice, homey dinners, relatives and friends. We pair it with a great bottle of white wine and pretend to be in a nice bacaro in Venice (Bacari are small bars in Venice, usually selling very convenient and great nibbles and wine).
“Being pretty on the inside means you don’t hit your brother and you eat all your peas – that’s what my grandma taught me.”Lord Chesterfield
Peas, Squid and Polenta
- frying pan
For The Polenta
- 180 gr Polenta Flour (Corn Flour)
- 500-800 ml Water
- to taste Salt
For Peas and Squid
- 600 gr Squid
- 300 gr Green Peas either fresh or frozen
- 1/2 Onion
- 1/2 glass White Wine
- 200 ml Tomato Passata
- as required Olive Oil
- to taste Salt and Pepper
For the Polenta
- Warm up about 500 ml of water in a pot and pour the polenta flour in it. Stir vigorously not to have lumps.
- Continue to stir the polenta for about 50 min (in case of pre-cooked polenta flour 5-10 min) adding more warm water whenever it dries out. It needs to be slightly liquid, it will solidify once cooled down. When it's almost ready, add a pinch of salt.
- Pour the polenta on a cold plate and serve warm.
For the Peas and Squid
- Defrost the squid (if not fresh) and cut them into pieces. Warm up some oil in a frying pan, slice the onion and add it to the hot oil. Cook until brownish.
- Add the squid to the onion and cook for 5-10 min at medium heat, then add the wine and let it evaporate.
- Add the peas and the tomato passata and let it cook for about 30 min, adding some water in case it dries out. Add salt and pepper (or chilli, if you like). When ready, the squid will result really tender.
- Serve warm with polenta, either on top or on the side.
I do have a scientific mind, probably it’s the reason why I love to hide in the kitchen and start creating.
My cooking is healthy, fun and colorful… and really tasty!
What are you waiting for? Grab your apron and start creating with me!