Monday, December 23, 2013
Cookbook Project: Book #1 - Essentials of Italian
I got this book many moons ago when I used to take cooking classes at William Sonoma in the Stamford Town Mall. I loved the teacher and took classes for 3 or 4 years with her because she'd use ingredients I never worked with or thought to work with. She's the first person that opened my mind to really trying new foods.
The week I posted my decision to count my cookbooks by trying a recipe from every cookbook I own, is the same week I called a good friend and asked if she'd be a guinea pig. I have a dinner right after Christmas and know that I'm serving braised short ribs, but thought Polenta with Gorgonzola sounded like an amazing companion to the ribs. Guess what. I was right.
I have to admit, I've never made polenta and have always heard how you have to watch it like you would a small child around an open flame; both burn easily if you look away for one moment. However, this recipe boasted that it was creamy, but made in the oven. No hovering. No needing to keep a watchful eye out for it to cease up on me and turn into a big ball of goo. The recipe literally called for me to mix several ingredients together and pop it in the oven until the last 10 minutes of cooking when you stir in gorgonzola and butter to give the polenta the incredibly rich, silky, cheesy flavor that went perfectly with the red wine braised short ribs.
The only change I'd make is I'd pull it out at 48 minutes, instead of the suggested 1 hour cooking time to stir in the cheese and butter. However, I wonder if it is because I chose to cook this in my toaster oven -- things may cook faster in the toaster oven than my 50 + year old vintage oven.
Would I make this again? Absolutely.
Polenta with Gorgonzola
2 C whole milk
1 C coarse-ground polenta
1/4 lb Gorgonzola cheese, rind removed and crumbled
2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 C grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375.
2. In a 2 qt (2-l) baking dish, whisk together 3 C water with the milk, polenta, and 1 tsp sea salt. Bake, uncovered, until the liquid has been absorbed and the polenta is tender, about 1 hour.
3. Remove the dish from the oven and whisk the polenta until creamy. Stir the Gorgonzola and butter into the polenta, distributing them evenly. Sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano evenly over the top.
4. Return the dish to the oven and bake until the chesses are melted and the top is lightly browned about 10 minutes. Serve at once directly from the dish.