Rachael Hartley, RD, private practice dietitian and author of Gentle Nutrition, was inspired to create this recipe from one of her favorite South Carolina Lowcountry dishes, shrimp and grits. "Using a tube of prepared polenta and SeaPak Shrimp Scampi allowed me to save time, while adding a fun Italian spin on it," she comments. "I love this recipe because it makes a satisfying dinner for cool fall nights, when you want a meal that feels extra cozy and comforting, but don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen."
As Hartley notes, with protein, starch, and produce, this recipe makes a nice one-dish meal, but you can feel free to add garlic bread for sopping up the sauce or a fresh leafy green side salad. "If you don't like polenta, feel free to serve the shrimp and sausage sauce tossed with pasta, or over a bed of whole grain farro for a more rustic dish," she adds. Get the recipe below.
Italian-style Shrimp and Grits from Rachael Hartley, RD
Makes 3 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces spicy Italian chicken sausage, sliced into ½-inch thick rounds
- ½ large red onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¾ cup canned tomato sauce
- ¾ cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 package SeaPak Shrimp Scampi or around 12 ounces of Shrimp Scampi recipe of choice (Shrimp cooked in olive oil with favorite Italian seasonings works, too)
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 18-ounce tube prepared polenta, sliced
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside until ready to use.
- Add red onions to the skillet along with a pinch of salt. There should be some leftover oil in the skillet, but if not, add another drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil first. Saute the onion until lightly golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute more. Stir in tomato sauce and cherry tomatoes, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
- Stir in frozen shrimp scampi and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook 1 minute more until wilted.
- While the tomato-shrimp sauce is cooking, warm polenta, milk and broth in a pot on medium heat, breaking apart the polenta slices with a wooden spoon until fully combined and smooth.
- Spoon grits into a bowl, making a well in the middle. Top with shrimp and sausage mixture and serve.