There’s a lot more to Italy than pizza and pasta. There’s also polenta. Corn was brought to Italy from the Americas by early European explorers, and it quickly became a staple, especially in hard times. Italian cooks transformed it into cornmeal, or polenta, and served it as a creamy mush or fried in chunks. Here it’s a creamy puddle for a fresh tomato sauce with sausage. But we’re not foregoing pasta altogether. Our manicotti is stuffed with ricotta and topped with another fresh tomato sauce. Whichever entrée you choose, start with the Fruity Granita, so it will be ready for dessert.
—By Karen Berman, a food writer in Fairfield, Conn.