Wednesday, June 08, 2005


As part of a gourmet shop gift basket we'd received from a friend, we had a bag of real Italian polenta. We'd enjoyed polenta in restaurants, but had never tried making it at home. The first time I tried it, it turned out well, but took a lot longer than the package suggested, and boy was it a lot of work! It takes over an hour to cook, and needs stirring often, and toward the end, continually. (The European package instructions also require decoding from the metric. They seem to weigh dry ingredients rather than measure their volume. Do they all have little scales in their kitchens over there?) It's worth the effort though, it comes out very creamy and flavorful. I was in the mood for it tonight, so I got home early and set up for the long haul. This time, I decided to add some goat cheese with garlic and herbs to flavor the polenta, which turned out well. I was envisioning a thick tomato-ey ragout to accompany it. I sauteed onions, red pepper, and zucchini, then added tomatoes, mushrooms, green olives, cannelini beans, chestnut lima beans, and some tomato paste, seasoned with garlic, oregano, and basil. It worked deliciously! Now, I'm just wondering whether the "quick" polenta (not the fully pre-cooked) that I see in the store would turn out as well, cause most nights I just don't have 2 hours to get dinner ready. And my stirring arm is tired.

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