01 October 2014

Virtual Supper Club's Homage to Wine Country

When you think about wine country, images of France, California, Australia, Germany, or Italy may come to mind. For me, it's always Italy that comes to mind first. I love Italian cuisine and this meal is one of my all time Fall favorites. I play with the concept of saltimbocca and a side of delicious seasonal polenta for this month's Virtual Supper Club theme. Jerry has asked the club members to dish up a tribute to wine country and we have all done our best! While I am having this polenta with pork saltimbocca, Jerry has made a gorgeous Roasted Breast of Chicken with Pinot Noir Sauce. I think my pumpkin sage polenta will complement ! Let's see what else is on the menu!

October's Tribute to Wine Country

Celebratory Beverage- Shelby's Honey Crisp Apple Sangria
Side Dishes - Susan's Creamy Pumpkin -Sage Polenta
Dessert- Sarah's Stilton Stuffed Pears

It's the perfect time of year to begin bringing out the pumpkin recipes and this Pumpkin Sage Polenta is a beautiful way to bring a savory treatment of pumpkin and corn to the table. I have a huge sage bush right outside the back door, so fresh beautiful leaves are plentiful. The recipe I chose comes from the Cooking Light website.  I used Mascarpone cheese instead of Neufchatel and a coarse grind polenta that takes a bit longer to cook than the instant polenta that the recipe calls for. I prefer the texture of coarse polenta over the more 'grit-like' instant stuff.

It's a beautiful side dish - a soft pumpkin flavour that melds with the earthy sage undertone - a bit of light cheesiness - and the body and base of corny polenta. Delicious! I wonder how everyone else's dishes are stacking up?  Guess I'll pop over to their sites by hitting the links in the menu description.

... the perfect fall side dish ...

Pumpkin-Sage Polenta
a Cooking Light recipe

Serves:  8 (a ¾ c. serving each)


2 ½ c. 1% milk
2 c. water
¾ c. canned pumpkin
1 ¼ tsp. salt
1 ¼ c. instant dry polenta (I prefer conventional course grind polenta)
¾ c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. Neufchatel or Mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
ground white pepper, to taste

¼ c. grated Parmesan for topping the polenta servings

Making the Dish:

  1. Place the milk, water, and salt in a deep and heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in the pumpkin and whisk to combine.
  3. Gradually stir in the polenta, whisking as you sprinkle it into the mix.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and continue whisking to make a thick, smooth mixture.
  5. Remove from the heat when the polenta has just a bit of bite to it.
  6. Stir in the Parmesan and the Neufchatel cheeses and the sage.
  7. Taste for saltiness and add some ground white pepper if you like.
  8. Mound a serving on a plate, garnish with some more chopped sage or a sage leaf and sprinkle on some more Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

An Afterward - It occurred to me that I might share the wine label that we drank with this beautiful meal, since we're honoring a visit to wine country! I chose an Italian red wine from Tuscany. It is bottled by Carpineto and it's a medium-bodied Sangiovese and Cabernet blend. Our bottle was 2011 vintage - young, but still having nice body. It's terrific with grilled meats and pizzas. I don't think it holds up to heavier tomato-based saucy Italian dishes, but that's just my opinion. Still, it is 'bang for your buck' a good bottle, as it comes in under $15 a bottle. 


  1. I have in mind a polenta with the leftover butternut squash from the soup. What a lovely and seasonal dish Susan. Thanks for bringing it to the table.

  2. OMG I love this post about my cuìsine.
    As all Italians I love our wines; as all people living in the North of Italy I love polenta too.
    Polenta is a typical dish of the South.

    1. Oh, Manu! Your approval means alot! I'm glad my commentary on Italian cuisine passed muster with you!

    2. OMG Susan I made a huge typing mistake: polenta is typical dish of the North and not South!!!

    3. LOL! Manu! You're so funny! I'm sure polenta is enjoyed ALL over Italy!

  3. This polenta sounds wonderful. I have only added cheese in the past. I will be making this soon.


Anonymous comments will not be accepted. Please be aware that due to spamming concerns, I must be able to track back. Use your Google account ID to comment.