Shrimp with Bacon and Polenta

Please your guests with this <a href="" title="pantry meal">pantry meal</a> that comes together quickly (25 minutes!) thanks to the quick-cooking polenta and frozen shrimp you surely have tucked in your freezer. Serve with a simple green salad for a meal your friends will be talking about for days.

You’ll Need

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 lb fresh or thawed frozen shrimp, peeled, deveined and washed
  • Small handful of parsley

Prep and Cook

  • Bring the water to a boil and slowly pour in the polenta. Bring the heat right down. Keep stirring and cook the polenta for 3–5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover the pot.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, then add the bacon. Cook for a few minutes until the bacon is brown but not crispy. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the tomatoes and break them up with a potato masher (gently, gently!). Allow the sauce to simmer for 15 minutes, or until it begins to thicken.
  • While the sauce is bubbling away, get your shrimp ready. Peel off the shells and tails (we left them on for this pic, as it makes them look more shrimpy, but I’d never serve them that way). If they’re not already deveined, take a small, sharp knife and run it down the back of the shrimp. You’re just making a very shallow cut. Use the tip of your knife to pull out the vein. Rinse all the shrimp under cold water to be sure they’re clean. Drain them well.
  • Put the shrimp into the simmering sauce and stir. They’ll cook quickly, about 3 minutes.
  • Give your polenta another stir. You may need to add a splash of warm water to loosen it up. Create a nest of polenta on a plate and then ladle the saucy shrimp onto it. Sprinkle parsley on top.


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