More polenta days…

I can’t believe I forgot to write about polenta with mushrooms. Last weekend Cathy served a delicious dinner of roast chicken (with lemons), accompanied by polenta with sauteed mushrooms and parsley.

I didn’t have any roast chicken last night, but I did have mushrooms.  I sauteed some red onion along with a pile of sliced mushrooms, then tossed in some finely chopped parsley and a bit of fresh rosemary.  A little salt and pepper and that made another fine topping for polenta.

By the way, I noticed that Martha Rose Shulman, who writes a “Recipes for Health” series for the New York Times, has a method for “Easy oven-baked polenta. I haven’t tried it–the stovetop method seems easy enough–but for those averse to stirring occasionally for 20 minutes, it could be just the thing (though it takes an hour that way).  She also has some nice recipes for grilled polenta.

As for the broccoli, I cooked it the way Rick’s Italian grandma, Isabelle Micucci, taught me:

  • First, parboil (or steam) the broccoli till it’s bright green and just-tender. Plunge it in cold water to stop the cooking. (She recommended cooking green vegetables like this just after you buy them, to seal in the freshness, then cooking the rest of the way before you’re ready to eat them).
  • About five minutes before you are ready to eat, heat up a skillet with some olive oil, and saute a couple cloves of garlic along with the broccoli spears (Isabelle Micucci liked to remove the garlic rather than serve it; I like to slice it before I put it in the pan and eat it along with the broccoli).
  • Sprinkle a little salt and hot red pepper flakes to taste, and serve. I like my broccoli with a squeeze of lemon too.

If you want to read an essay I wrote a long time ago about Isabelle Micucci and her cooking, you could look here… and for the meat eaters, there’s also a recipe for some special Micucci meatballs.

With the polenta meal, we also had a slice (or two) of some semolina bread I made. It was fantastic — and it will be the subject of my next post.



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2 responses to “More polenta days…

  1. Rick Steigmeyer

    Thanks, Toby, for writing so well about grandma. I’m going to make some polenta and broccoli tonight to go with my coq au vin.

  2. lemonodyssey

    It’s a pleasure to remember Grandma Micucci and her food-and-kitchen tips, Rick. I bet the coq au vin was delicious atop the polenta!

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