Shrimp & Grits.. Italian Style.. sort of

By Aliwaks
December 1, 2009
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Shrimp & Grits.. Italian Style.. sort of

Author Notes: I watched the Shrimp and Grits Throwdown with Bobby Flay one night on Food Network and it got in my head...and needed to get in my mouth..a quick pantry fridge search revealed: frozen shrimp, polenta, guanciale, smoked cheddar and arugula... so I put it all together and it worked! It worked beautifully. I've made it again and again each time with whatever cheese/smoked pork product is around.. aged gouda, marscapone and thick cut bacon also yielded terrific results...there is lots of room for creativity in this recipe. It takes under a half hour and is truly satisfying... warm, spicy, cheesy, creamy..lovely dinner after a long day.Aliwaks

Serves: 4

  • 1 cup cubed smoked bacon, pancetta, guanciale, Virginia ham, tasso or proscuitto
  • 1 cup quick cooking polenta
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk or stock
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 + cups shredded smoked gouda or cheddar
  • 1/4 cup grated aged gouda or dry jack
  • 20 large shrimp, deviened, peeled (defrosted if necessary)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoon hot sauce (I like Crystal or the Mexican on wth the wooden cap, can't remember the name)
  • 2 handfuls arugula, washed and dried
  • 20 or so grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  1. Set water, milk or stock, minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper to boil.
  2. In separate pan fry bacon cubes, until crispy and perfect. Pour off half the fat.
  3. When water begins to boil, lower the flame and slowly whisk in polenta, allow to simmer.
  4. Set medium heat under bacon fat pan, add olive oil & sliced garlic. Saute until soft.
  5. While garlic is softening whisk rosemary into the polenta. Test texture. It should be very soft and creamy. If it's not, add some some liquid.
  6. Season shrimp and add to garlic in pan, add tomatoes, hot sauce 1/4 cup water, white wine or stock, cover and let cook 4 minutes or until they are nice and pink.
  7. While shrimp is cooking remove polenta from heat, whisk in most of the cheeses and remaining butter. Add more cheese if you like and season to taste.
  8. To Serve: Dollop polenta into 4 bowls. (There should be leftover polenta for breakfast). Distribute arugula evenly in each. The heat from the polenta will wilt the arugula. Place 5 shrimp in each bowl pour sauce over and sprinkle liberally with bacon cubes. Add more hot sauce if you wish and a few chopped scallions or chives if you want. Excellent while eaten on couch with blanket and an old movie.

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