Polenta Topping No. 1: Zesty Tomato and Balsamic Sauce

1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 large cloves peeled and minced garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
Roasted polenta squares (see related recipe)
Shredded Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a medium-sized skillet or heavy-bottomed pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until onion is soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes with juice, the broth, balsamic vinegar, basil, pepper flakes and white pepper. Simmer, uncovered, until liquid has reduced and thickened. Adjust seasonings, adding salt and additional pepper to taste.

To serve, remove the roasted polenta from oven and place 1 to 2 pieces on each plate. Top polenta with a serving of tomato sauce. Pass Parmesan at the table.

Makes 4 servings.

VARIATION: For those evenings when you can't figure out what to do with some chicken breasts or pork chops, brown the meat until lightly golden on both sides, then remove from pan and proceed with this recipe; add meat back to skillet after sauce is prepared, cover and cook just until meat has finished cooking.

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