Polenta with Shrimp, Tomatoes, and Chilies

Gabe Thompson

Anfora - dell'anima, L'Apicio, and L'Artusi, NYC

Gabe Thompson favors Anson Mills polenta when preparing this Italian take on shrimp and grits.


  • Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • Small pinch chile flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 3/4 cups canned whole tomatoes, crushed
  • Polenta:
  • 1/2 cups polenta
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt to taste
  • Sautéed Shrimp:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound rock shrimp
  • Aleppo pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Toasted bread crumbs (optional)


Make the tomato sauce: heat the olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the shallots, chile flakes, and salt; sauté just until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes as they soften, for 5 to 10 minutes. Cover and reserve.

Make the polenta: whisk together the polenta and water in a saucepan. Place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring often, until the polenta is thick and thoroughly cooked, about 15 minutes. Stir in the butter and Parmesan. Season to taste with salt. Cover and reserve.

Make the shrimp: heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the shrimp with Aleppo pepper and salt. Place the shrimp to the pan and sauté until just turning pink, about 2 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley, butter, and lemon juice. Stir to combine.

To serve, divide the polenta among serving dishes. Top with tomato sauce and shrimp. Sprinkle with bread crumbs if using.


4 to 6 servings