1small banana pepperhalved, seeded, and thinly sliced (see notes)
1can diced tomatoes(14 oz or use 1 and 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes)
16-20medium pitted black olivessliced
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakesto taste
1/4cupchopped fresh parsleyfor serving
toasted pine nutsfor serving
For the polenta:
Bring the water and almond milk to a boil. Add the corn grits, salt, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, and dried herbs, and stir.
Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 more minutes. You'll know the polenta is done when you start to see giant bubbles forming and the cornmeal is soft and fluffy.
Set aside for a few minutes before eating.
For the puttanesca sauce:
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a splash of water or vegetable broth along with the onion, garlic, and banana pepper. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and adding more water or broth as needed, until the vegetables are softened.
Add the tomatoes, capers, and black olives, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add seasonings to taste (be mindful, as the capers/olives/canned tomatoes may be salty already), and serve over a scoop of polenta with chopped parsley and pine nuts.
SPICINESS: I've found that banana peppers can vary significantly in spiciness, at least around here. If you're sensitive to heat then start with 1/2 of a pepper, and skip the additional red pepper flakes.CORN GRITS: You can use uncooked polenta instead of corn grits; more water and cooking time may be required. Adjust according to your package directions.