Friday, July 9, 2010

Polenta with Prosciutto & Porcini Ragu

Italian Polenta with Prosciutto-Porcini Ragu
Yield: 24 (8-ounce) portions (5 ounces polenta, 3 ounces ragu)
Preparation time: 45 minutes polenta, 20 minutes ragu
Shelf life: 2 to 3 days

Speaking of comfort foods from yesterday's post, I thought I would get back to our Italian roots today. Toothsome polenta with a rich wild mushroom and prosciutto ragu is Italian comfort food at its best. This recipe was created by Jason Kallert, the executive chef of the New York Friars’ Club.

Polenta:
  • 7 quarts chicken stock
  • ½ pound unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 7 cups coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Ragu:

  • ¼ pound unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces olive oil
  • ¾ pound yellow onions, finely diced
  • ½ pound thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
  • 2 quarts veal demi-glace
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 3 pounds fresh porcini, trimmed, wiped and sliced (see Note)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. For the polenta: In a large stockpot, bring chicken stock, one stick of butter, olive oil and salt to a boil; slowly whisk in the cornmeal until it is combined. Turn heat down to low and simmer polenta, stirring with a wooden spoon every 5 minutes, for 45 minutes.
  2. Turn off heat; stir in remaining butter, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and salt and pepper to taste, cover and keep warm. The polenta should have a smooth consistency and should pour almost like mashed potatoes.
  3. For the ragu: Heat butter and 1 ounce of oil in a large casserole. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Stir in prosciutto, sauté for 5 minutes, then add demi-glace and chicken stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. While ragu is cooking, heat remaining 2 ounces of oil in a couple of large sauté pans until almost smoking; add the porcini and sauté until golden brown, shaking the pan often. Drain off oil, add mushrooms to the ragu and cook 15 minutes longer; taste to adjust the seasoning.
  5. For each portion: Place a 5-ounce ladle of polenta into a bowl, add a 3-ounce ladle of ragu over it and serve.

Note: If fresh porcini are unavailable, substitute the same amount of white mushrooms along with 1½ ounces reconstituted dried porcinis. Strain and reduce the soaking liquid down to a few tablespoons and add it to the demi-glace or stock.

NUTRITIONAL DATA (per 8-ounce portion): Calories: 390; Cholesterol: 20 mg; Sodium: 600 mg; Fat: 10 g; Dietary Fiber: 6 g

(To view article with recipe, click HERE)

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