Shrimp with Polenta: Gamberetti con Polenta
- 4 cups water
- 1 bay leaf, plus 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1 1/2 cups coarse yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 rib celery, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds rock shrimp
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 2 tablespoons
In a heavy-bottomed saucepot, combine the water, bay leaf, and salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Gradually whisk the cornmeal into the pot, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium low and stir constantly until the polenta is smooth and thick, about 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Turn the polenta into a serving bowl and keep warm.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the celery and garlic, and process to form a smooth paste. Set aside.
In a 12 to 14-inch saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the onion. Saute until softened and slightly browned, about 3 minutes, then add the celery and garlic, and remaining bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and wine, mix well, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add a bit of water if necessary to keep the mixture from getting too thick, cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the shrimp are tender but cooked through.
Remove the bay leaves and stir in the parsley. Serve immediately with the warm polenta.