Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Great Italian Food for Fall

This week in Titina's kitchen, the elegant Cremona Menu--and while the centerpiece of this cooking class meal is a beautiful Duck in Cognac Sauce, the favorite recipe may be one of the sides. Polenta with Mushrooms combines two classic northern Italian ingredients in a dish that's perfect for fall. Paired with a salad, it would be great weeknight supper--filling, delicious, and ready from scratch in about 30 minutes.

Use dried porcini mushrooms in the recipe, like chef Titina does. They are expensive, but their big flavor goes a long way. Recently featured in the Carpi Flavors e-newsletter, porcinis are THE prized mushrooms in Italian markets (see photo above). And while you can't get them fresh in America, Capri flavors sells a lovely, high-quality dried porcini that's a really good value.

Another recently featured food from the recipe is Polenta Express. Great polenta that cooks in minutes. If you try only one new Italian product this fall, make it Polenta Express.

Here's how chef Titina combines it with wonderful fall mushrooms. (followed by the full Cremona menu)

Polenta con Funghi (Polenta with Mushrooms)

1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups fresh (white) mushrooms sliced
1/2 cup EVOO
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
8 oz Polenta Express
1 QT water
3 TBS grated percorino Romano
Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash the mushrooms in a sink with cold water and shake off excess water. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Saute' the garlic and add the mushrooms. Add the salt.
Using a wooden spoon, toss together for 10 minutes. Add the quart of water to the pan. When the mixture starts to boil, add the polenta, little by little. Stir constantly for 6 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve with sprinkled with percorino.

Cremona Menu

Polenta ai Funghi (Polenta with Mushrooms)

Anatra in Salsa (Duck in Cognac Sauce)

Escarole con Pinoli (Spinach Sauteed with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts)

Crema Caramellata (Creme Caramel)

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