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Recipe for :

Gnocchi di Polenta (Polenta Gnocchi with Sausage and Mushroom Sauce)
 

Cook ItalyThis is one of the recipes that has been provided by Carmelita Caruana from Italy. Carmelita is involved in running cooking holidays in Italy and it is well worth visiting her website - www.cookitaly.com - to find out more.

Ingredients

For the polenta:
1 1/2 litres water
2 tbsp salt
450 g fine corn meal or polenta if available

For the sauce:
50g dried Porcini mushrooms
2 tsps milk
3 tbsp olive oil
50 g butter
60 g prosciutto fat
A small onion finely diced
A small carrot finely diced
A celery stalk finely diced
100g pork sausage
250 g tomato passata or a can of peeled plum tomatoes simmered till soft
Salt and pepper

For finishing:
100 g butter
150 g Parmesan

Method
  • Start by soaking the Porcini in just enough hot water to cover them, and add the milk. After 20-30 minutes drain (reserve the liquid) and chop finely.
  • For the Polenta, bring the water to the boil, then add the salt, and drizzle the cornmeal into it in a fine steady stream - "like rain" is the Italian expression. Stir round and round at first, then in a folding motion, for 45 -60 minutes - no mistake!! It is hard work and it is best if lots of people take turns. The polenta is cooked when it comes away from the sides of the pan consistently and cleanly.
  • Earlier (or meantime if you have help in the kitchen) make the sauce.
  • Heat the butter and olive oil together and in them first fry the diced prosciutto fat, then soften (adding water to prevent frying) the 3 chopped vegetables known as "odori" - onion, carrot and celery.
  • When they are soft, add the crumbled sausage, and brown. Then add the tomato passata or simmered and softened peeled plum tomatoes and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
  • Now add the chopped Porcini and their liquid, taste and season with salt and pepper, and cook a further 15 minutes.
  • To assemble, take large spoonfuls of Polenta and drop them into a buttered baking dish. forming small balls. Drop a few spoonfuls of sauce between and on top of the polenta gnocchi and distribute some butter and Parmesan, then more layers of Polenta gnocchi topped with sauce/butter/cheese
  • Bake the finished dish at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes or until a crisp cheese crust has formed on top

Serves 6

Notes

  • This is a filling and warming dish for a cold winter's night in the mountains, hence the liberal quantities of fat ! You can ease up on these, especially the 100 g of butter for layering the dish, but don't skimp the Parmesan: it is made with semi-skimmed after all.

Carmelita Caruana

 
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