Thursday, April 23, 2015

Smoked Ricotta Polenta

Here's an easy recipe for a smoky, creamy polenta that's perfect under a heap of my Garlicky Broccoli Rabe with Hot Italian Sausage

(You're welcome.)

Smoked Ricotta Polenta
5 cups water
1 cup medium or fine-grain cornmeal
*Chicken broth
Garlic powder
Smoked sea salt
Ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 oz smoked ricotta cheese (or plain if you can't find smoked)
Fresh ground pepper

Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 1

To Do: 
  • Boil the water in a medium-sized heavy sauce pan over high heat.
  • Slowly whisk the cornmeal into the water. Whisk continuously until the mixture thickens without clumps, 2-3 minutes. 
  • Reduce the heat to low, then cook uncovered for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so with a wooden spoon. *Note: If polenta becomes too thick to stir easily, try thinning it with 1/2 cup water or chicken broth, then continue cooking. You may need to add as much as 1 cup more water or broth as necessary, to keep the polenta soft enough to stir. 
  • Season to taste with a pinch or two of the garlic powder, smoked salt, pepper and chili flakes, then add the butter and ricotta, and stir to incorporate.
  • Mix well and spoon onto plates, then top with my tasty broccoli rabe and sausage mixture, or eat the polenta as is, topped with a bit more ricotta and some fresh herbs. 
  • If you aren't serving the polenta immediately, put it in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water and cover to keep warm for up to an hour. Stir well before serving.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Easy Eggplant Stew

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love eggplant. And, lately, I love making eggplant stew.

You can make it too!

Heat a bit of olive oil in heavy-bottomed dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Then add some minced garlic and a heavy pinch or two of salt, cinnamon, cumin, ground coriander, curry powder, and smoked paprika, and cook until the garlic is soft and the spices are fragrant. Add in some diced eggplant (I used 2 medium-sized ones and peeled one, but left the other as is) and some chopped zucchini and sweet peppers if you have some, along with a cup or so of diced tomatoes and a can of drained/rinsed chickpeas. Simmer uncovered until the eggplant cooks down, stirring occasionally -- about 25-30 minutes on medium-low heat. Before serving, stir in some chopped kale, and then top with smoked ricotta, ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

And, it gets better with the next day's breakfast/brunch: Spoon some of the stew and kale in a bowl, microwave for about a minute, then make room for an egg and break it into the middle of the bowl. Microwave for another minute or so (checking every 30 seconds) until the white is set and the yolk is still soft. Top with hot sauce and then stir the lovely runny egg into the stew. (Yum!)


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Garlicky Broccoli Rabe with Hot Italian Sausage

Broccoli rabe makes me happy.

There's nothing better than a skillet full of spicy, garlicky, broccoli rabe. Except maybe a skillet of spicy, garlicky, broccoli rabe with hot sausage. Pile it high on sliced rolls or toss with your favorite pasta and big sprinkle of grated cheese.  Or, just eat it right out of the pan. You can't go wrong.

Gourmess' Garlicky Broccoli Rabe with Hot Italian Sausage
2 bunches broccoli rabe
2 TBS olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 TBS chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 lb hot Italian Sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
Crushed red pepper

 Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 1

To Do:
  • Remove the tough ends from the broccoli rabe, then chop into small pieces. Rinse well, drain and set aside. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, then stir in the garlic. Cook at low heat until fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 mins.
  • Add the broccoli rabe to the pan and raise heat to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the broccoli rabe is tender, but not soggy. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes.
  •  In the meantime, heat the chicken broth in a medium-sized pot and add the sausage. Cover the pot and cook the sausage over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through.
  • When the sausage is cooked, add it AND the drippings from the pot to the skillet with the broccoli rabe. Stir to combine, then cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt/pepper to taste and a pinch or two of the red pepper.
  • Stuff the broccoli rabe/sausage mixture inside crusty rolls, mix with pasta, or scoop into deep bowls with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese. Or a dollop of fresh ricotta.