Creamy Radicchio Risotto

with Mascarpone

(or Not - Vegetarian &

Vegan versions)

Pasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook ‘Naturally Vegetarian’

My cookbook, Naturally Vegetarian, is out today! Visit this page to grab a copy, or go straight to Amazon!

And also…
The photos of myself in this post were taken by the wonderful Serena Cevenini, and the video on the book page was shot by Laura Ascari. These two incredible ladies are a super talented team who shots and films weddings – check them out!

An article by yours truly was published today on Mind Body Green, titled ‘The Secrets to how Italians are so Healthy (and Happy!)’ – hop over to read it! Thank you so much Liz Moody and all the MBG team for doing such a wonderful job!

My book is out. It is a strange sensation, indeed. The photos below portray one of the many situations that happened during the creation of this baby, shot by Serena and myself.

Pasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian'Pasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian' Ph. Serena Cevenini www.serenacevenini.comPasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian'Pasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian' Ph. Serena Cevenini www.serenacevenini.com

I thought I would have more to say, but I really don’t. It was a weird Tuesday: I had to say two major goodbyes – the kind of goodbyes that mark your calendars – that left me with mixed things and feelings, like a bike from 1940 to fix, the idea to renovate my studio entirely, some furniture to do it with, and promises that great things are to come. Which is probably true.
A friend just told me that everything that leaves, also leaves behind a seedling; and a chance to grow this seedling into something beautiful. So it is out duty to nurture this seedling with all the love and care we can give it. Nurturing these seeds is our choice and no one else’s.

This cookbook of mine was born from a very similar feeling. I will be sharing 2 – 3 recipes from it here on the blog, and I hope they’ll make you excited enough to want to buy this for Christmas for someone you’d like to spend sometime in the kitchen with.

Pasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian' Ph. Serena Cevenini www.serenacevenini.comPasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian' Ph. Serena Cevenini www.serenacevenini.comPasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian' Ph. Serena Cevenini www.serenacevenini.comPasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian' Ph. Serena Cevenini www.serenacevenini.com

There are several people now who tried the recipes from the book and gave them rave reviews. Amongst these, a chef friend of mine, who worked in many high-end restaurants, cooked recipes from my book a couple times. We cooked together the Vegetarian ‘Carbonara’ with zucchini and a dish of Tortelli with mushrooms and truffle (that you can find on the blog), and was enthusiastic (and he was, really. He’s not the kind of person who’d say he likes something just because you’re his friend).

So, I hope you’ll be amongst those who try the recipes as well!
If you decide to try any, PLEASE send a photo my way!! or even just a note, or a thought…or even a complaint but I’d LOVE to interact with you and know what you think! 
Do it via Instagram, or Facebook…any way!

Pasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian' Ph. Serena Cevenini www.serenacevenini.comPasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian'Pasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian'Pasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian'

The first recipe I want to share from the book is one of the simplest I came up with, and by far one of my favorite pastas: a buttery, luscious pasta dish with tons of herbs, toasted nuts and a slight hint of lemon zest, perfect for a Sunday lunch or for a night when you feel like a comforting bowl of deliciousness.

Although butter is kind of king here, this recipe can be made vegan provided that you use some very good extra virgin olive oil instead of the butter and skip the cheese. In this case, use 3 more tablespoons olive oil instead of the butter.

One thing there is never a shortage of here in the countryside are wild herbs and aromatics, which grow both in my garden and all around the fields all year long. When the coldest months of winter strike, and the vegetable garden needs some rest, the comforting aroma exuding from their freshly snapped stalks spreads and fills  the kitchen, and reminds us that nature is far from dead. I love to awake the dormant spirit of spring with dishes like this pasta – so quick to make that the longest task will be boiling the water – and take a nice smell over the pan, as if I were breathing in the scents from our rosemary and sage bushes…

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian'
 
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 50 g (slightly less than half a stick) butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 
1 tablespoon minced rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced sage
  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme
  • 
1 teaspoon mined marjoram
  • Grated zest of half an organic lemon
  • 
320 g (11.5 oz) long fresh pasta (tagliolini, angel hair, tagliatelle)
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus coarse salt for the pasta water
  • Pepper
  • 4 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
Instructions
  1. Dry-toast the pine nuts by tossing them in a hot pan, shaking them very often for a couple minutes. When they start to render the oil and turn slightly brown, they are ready. Set aside.
  2. In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add coarse salt.
  3. Melt the butter with the oil in a pan over a medium-low fire, and add the herbs and lemon zest.
  4. Let the butter foam slightly and the herbs release their aroma, about two minutes. When the herbs have sizzled slightly, turn off the fire.
  5. Boil the pasta for the time indicated in the package (or until it floats to the surface if it is fresh pasta). 
Turn on the fire under the pan with the herbs and butter to medium, and drain the pasta into the pan, reserving the pasta water. Add about ¼ cup pasta water, and stir the pasta to form a creamy base with the fat and starchy water. Adjust salt if needed.
  6. Finish with freshly cracked black pepper and che cheese. Serve immediately and garnish each dish with the toasted pine nuts.
  7. You can add more lemon zest if you prefer a stronger lemon flavor.

 

PS: a huge last-minute thank you goes to Umberto, who patiently sat with me through some recipe-testing and prop-fixing: thanks, even though you’ll never read this, because you can’t. You’re the sweetest obnoxious person I’ve ever had the pleasure to know!
A huge thank you also goes to Marco, who deserves all possible praise the food world has to offer!

Pasta with Herb Butter Sauce from my Cookbook 'Naturally Vegetarian' Ph. Serena Cevenini www.serenacevenini.com

Cjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from Friuli

I don’t know if it ever happens to you: You meet a person, or step in a place, and it feels more like you were reunited rather than introduced. Like when you do your laundry and throw all your clothes in the washing machine, and when you collect them you can’t seem to pair all your socks correctly, or you lose one of a pair. You’ll swear out loud, rummage through your drawers and clothes and, very likely, forget about the missing sock.
Then one day, unexpected, it pops up again.
‘That’s where it was’.

It is a glass half-full of emotions.

When I saw Friuli-Venezia Giulia for the first time – the northeastern most region of Italy, bordering with Veneto and Slovenia – the feeling was just that. It was a lost sock of mine, one sibling of of a pair I didn’t know I owned. That unknown land of mountains I had barely ever seen, of lush vineyards and apple trees, felt like meeting an old friend whose face I had forgotten.
I like to think that this feeling is somehow connected to my Venetian lineage, and that, in a previous life, I must have belonged to the mists of the Northeastern plains.

Cjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from FriuliCjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from FriuliCjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from FriuliCjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from Friuli

Friuli, with its many, many unknown wonders, is one of those lands that has somehow remained hidden behind  a curtain – a pretty, smart girl sitting in a corner, unnoticed.

And yet, like most silent beings, it is full of surprises: the bluest rivers, mingling into Slovenia, majestic mountains – the Alpi Giulie – and, as you slope down into the valley through fields upon fields of vineyards that produce, in my opinion, the best white wines in Italy along with Trentino, and hills that blend into the last shores of the Adriatic sea. It keeps its own identity, though sometimes bastardized by its neighboring Mitteleuropean lovers, and speaks its own language. Signs on the streets are written in both Italian and Friulan.

My missing sock in particular I found in a small town called Faedis, just north of Udine.

Flavia is tiny but has the temper of a lion. Her blue eyes run through the many bottles of the Friulano and Refosco wines she produces, as she makes room for us to start boiling the potatoes and kneading our dough. Her country home in Faedis is the one next to Ophelia’s, and her tiny cellar produces one of my favorite wines.
Marco, whose past is tied to the mountains in Carnia like a tight hug, is getting ready to prepare a batch of cjalsons for the whole house. In the other room, Flavia’s grandma and grand aunts are making fresh butter, using milk from their cows. They serve us espresso, accompanied by some of said milk, that her cousin just milked from the cows.
Here, in this scenario that I am constantly afraid Italy will lose, Marco explains the lack of pasta in Friuli and the presence of cinnamon in the area, as he kneads the dough for cjalsons.

Cjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from FriuliCjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from FriuliCjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from FriuliCjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from FriuliCjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from Friuli

‘Wheat was scarce in this area. We only had corn and potatoes. Pasta isn’t really a thing here in Friuli…but spices are. The reason why cinnamon was used in such a poor cuisine is that sellers would bring them up to Austria and Germany via a sort of cabinet full of tiny drawers, and they ended up using whatever powder stuck to the bottom in their recipes. People were so, so poor. And yet, this recipe is so comforting…cjalsons are the closest to pasta we ever got, even though I am making the potato dough version.’

And on we folded, as my mind ran through these repeated gestures of ‘pasta’ making that I have always witnessed. To me, a woman born in Emilia Romagna, where other women spent a whole life folding tortellini and sealing ravioli, where smells of rich sauces and eggs and long strings of tagliatelle dance and mingle like sacred Djinns before our senses, this process of pasta making brings with it a consciousness of the heritage each shape and filling brings with it, as each piece is folded almost like a prayer – like saying a rosary – pearl after pearl, ravioli after ravioli, cjalson after cjalson. And, like after a prayer, the feeling that is left is one of renewal, of gratitude, and of knowing that what is to come next can only be good.

Cjalsons are a celebration of making do with what one has as their disposal. Cjalsons are that beautiful girl bashfully sitting in a corner, who added flowers to her tattered dress and turned her colorless self into pastel-like gracefulness. Marco, with his delicate gestures and nimble fingers, is the perfect Prince Charming to take this ignored girl by the hand and dance with her in the center of the stage, and turn her into royalty.

And there you have it. Mismatched socks, finally reunited with their legitimate sibling.

Cjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from FriuliCjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from FriuliCjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from FriuliCjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from FriuliCjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from Friuli

So far, I have eaten cjalsons a total of 5 times in different places, and so far each time was completely different, as if we were talking about totally different recipes. One time, they were made with an eggless pasta dough kneaded with pureed spinach, and stuffed with tons of herbs and a little ricotta, and two raisins for each cjalson. Another time, they were made with gnocchi dough and stuffed with herbs, ricotta, grated apple and raisins and had more cinnamon than in other recipes. Another time, they were smaller and had no raisins, but had Montasio or Latteria cheese in the stuffing. Each recipe was absolutely delicious – way beyond what you could imagine from this strange mix of ingredients.

An then there’s Marco’s version. By far, my favorite, and one of the simplest. He makes them out of gnocchi dough, stuffs them with a mix of foraged young greens such as nettles, poppy leaves and baby chard, and fashions them in a way that is called ‘Priest’s hat’, then drowns them in a wave of browned butter and a snowing of smoked ricotta and cinnamon.
Their flavor evokes smells of fireplace and wooden houses, of crisp air coming down from the Alps and that scent of mixed flowers and herbs that is everywhere in Carnia and Carso.
Make them – please make them. They are my favorite Italian ‘first course’ so far.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from Friuli
 
Ingredients
FOR THE DOUGH
  • 500g (a little over 1 lb) potatoes
  • 150g (5.2 oz) flour (0 type)
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
FOR THE FILLING
  • 150g (5.2 oz) whole cow's milk ricotta
  • 150g (5.3 oz) mixed fresh greens (baby chard and spinach, nettles...) cleaned
  • 1 egg white
  • 25g (2 heaping tablespoons) aged Montasio (sub Grana cheese if unavailable), grated
  • Salt and pepper
FOR DRESSING
  • 200g (1½ stick) butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Smoked ricotta (or another smoked cheese)
Instructions
MAKE THE DOUGH
  1. Boil the potatoes until very tender, then mash them through a potato ricer so that the skin remains behind. If using other ways to mash them, peel the skin off first. Let them cool enough to handle them, but work them when still warm.
  2. Add the egg and flour and knead until you get a soft, elastic dough. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour.
MAKE THE FILLING
  1. Chop the greens and steam them until tender. If you have a steamer, you can steam them in the same pot where the potatoes are cooking. When ready, let them cool enough to handle, squeeze off excess water and chop them very finely.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and pepper and mix to combine.
  3. You can prepare the dough and filling in advance and store in the fridge for a day.
MAKE THE CJALSONS
  1. Roll the dough down on a floured surface until it is 1 cm thick, then cut off circles using a glass. Flatten each circle slightly, but not too much.
  2. Add a teaspoon of filling into each, and seal them. See the photos above to get an idea of how to seal them in a triangular shape, but you can also seal them in a half-moon shape. If they seem too much, you can freeze them for later use (in which case, drop them in boiling water without thawing and just cook a minute or two more).
  3. In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add coarse salt, about 1 teaspoon per liter.
  4. Dump the cjalsons carefully into the boiling water. They will be ready when they float to the surface, which could take 3 to 5 minutes. Drain them, preferably with a slotted spoon.
MAKE THE DRESSING
  1. Add the butter to a large pan, and turn on the heat on medium-high. Let the butter melt and sizzle. Keep cooking, swirling often, until the butter stops sizzling and turns a nutty color: the sizzling is caused by the residual water when it evaporates. Be careful not to burn the butter! If it browns too quickly, turn down the heat.
  2. Add the cjalsons and sauté to coat them with butter.
  3. Serve 3 or 5 cjalson per person, drizzle with butter from the pan, dust with cinnamon, and add a showering of smoked cheese.

 

Thanks to Di Gaspero wines. If you have a chance to taste wines from Friuli, please do!

Cjalsons, Herb & Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Cinnamon from Friuli

At Ophelia’s Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Girolle Mushroom Sauce

GIVEAWAY NOTICE!!

As you might know, my cookbook, Naturally Vegetarian, will be available on November 7th! and there is a chance for 10 of you who preorder it to win a beautiful print from the book!

HOW IT WORKS 

The giveaway will run from today to November 3rd. To enter, preorder your copy on any of the websites where it is available, which you can find here.
then submit your preorder code via this form.
Hope you get it and love it!
—–

We stepped on a sun-bathed mix of overgrown fresh herbs and flowers, standing strong against impending mid-October, and crispy reddish-golden leaves, surrendered to the season, as we approached the flaky wooden door. Marco spotted a few more mushrooms between the leaves and kneeled to pick them and add them to his basket, where black-to-brown-to-orange-to-yellow hues of mushrooms were snugly grouped together.
‘here’, said Eugenia as she turned the key into the door. ‘This is Ophelia’s home. It’s all dusty – watch your steps.’

At Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom SauceAt Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom SauceAt Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce

The chiaroscuro of lights in the corridor was dazzling. In these old homes, light filters in through the semi-closed windows and holes in the walls as if it was elbowing its way violently through, as chiaroscuro is a fight between the light crashing through obstacles that turn its path pitch black, and every centimeter of space becomes a ring for this sparring of cutting through space and blocking hits. It is a dance of celebration and mourning; of dawn and dusk, round every corner and every piece of furniture.
It is such a fitting mood for abandoned places and for abandoned hearts.
A dusty green table was sitting on a corner, topped by an old scale and flecks of dust. In the old kitchen, a stunning traditional Friulan brick and cast iron stove sat in a corner. Dark green wooden chairs were scattered all around the house – one still hosting a newspaper with tattered, yellowing pages, as if waiting for someone to return.
Ophelia’s ghost seemed to be there still, sitting next to the window on that azure floral cushion, hit by the early afternoon Fall sunlight.
‘Who’s Ophelia?’ I asked.
‘She was a cousin of ours,’ Eugenia replied. ‘This house has been empty since the seventies. It is falling to pieces, which is too bad. It is such a beautiful house.’
So I started wondering about all the chairs that are left empty, and about the feeling that these 100-year old buildings carry with them: presences can be felt. There are places that still hold souls within. Once you start visiting these buildings, you can clearly tell the difference between walking into a new apartment, or any abandoned building. They sit, like an elderly person left alone, dead without notice: they will always carry the nostalgia of those who took care of them and saw them grow old and weary.

At Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom SauceAt Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom SauceAt Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom SauceAt Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce

I did not ask what life Ophelia led, but I imagined it as I climbed the crackly wooden stairs and stepped on those still beautiful worn floorboards, and touched the light, tattered floral curtains, filtering the light through the dust.
I wondered wether she waited for someone, gazing out the window from her kitchen, where the stove was lit and warmed the room along with the sun rays. I wondered wether she had a lost boyfriend, in those mountains in Friuli where both wars were so ferocious, and she waited to hear footsteps on the crackling golden leaves, on the snow, on the grass, on burnt nettles.
I wondered wether she lay awake at night, thinking what she would cook on that stove, after gathering the wood to light it up, and wether her chairs would fill up, and with who. I wondered wether there was an empty chair she wished could have a host.
I wondered wether she braided her hair or she kept it short, and wether she tied it with flowers and fresh aromatics in the spring. Ophelia, the drowning damsel of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, princess of nothing but her own dreams.
I wondered who her footsteps could wake up in late evenings, when the house was cold and floorboards are too noisy when walked on, embers still faintly burn in the stove, and a can of fresh, unpasteurized cow’s milk sat outside in the cold, starry night. There are no lights in Faedis, tiny her village, except for those of her home.

But, most of all, I wondered what Ophelia cooked in that stove of hers. With butter and cheese that they made at home, and mushrooms they picked from their garden, and buckwheat and corn flour, what could her favorite dish be?
Could it be a soft, creamy polenta, topped with a fondue of latteria or malga cheese – a dish called suf in Friuli? Or could it be polenta with morchia – corn flour stir-fried in butter? Could it be cjalsons – ravioli stuffed with herbs and cheese and dressed with butter and cinnamon? Or foraged mountain herbs, like nettles, silene, mint and mallow, cooked in a frittata from her hens?

As I looked out the windows and into the stove, I imagined all these things.
‘What if someone like Ophelia added mushrooms to polenta gnocchi?’ I asked Marco, who was teaching me so much about Friuli cuisine.
‘Well, I’d say she either went out and foraged some or that she was quite wealthy,’ he laughed. ‘They’re in season now, but they aren’t an everyday occurrence.’

At Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom SauceAt Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom SauceAt Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom SauceAt Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom SauceAt Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce

When we exited the house we all hiccuped back to reality. It is what happens when you exit places with souls trapped within: you wonder wether you have really been inside, and wether the past ten minutes really happen at all. Then you look back at the closed door and wonder wether someone actually whispered all those thoughts in your ears or if it was all a product of your imagination.
When we got back to Eugenia’s house, there were three grandmas in aprons making butter. Their stove was hot and a kettle was boiling on top of it. A sturdy woman was shaking milk solids in a large jar, and another one was preparing the ice.
‘See? we’ll add the ice to the jar, and the butter will get solid. Then we’ll shape it.’
Another woman brought in a bucketful of freshly squeezed milk.
‘It’s the right time to go and forage herbs,’ said one of the women. ‘We could make frittata. We should also start the water for polenta…
Here, in this house, all the chairs around the table were sat on, except one.
Marco started the polenta – a coarse, delicious polenta from Socchieve, full of black specks – and cooked the mushrooms in what I thought was too much butter. He is one of those extraordinary people who can cook in a shirt and dress pants and not get a single bit of food on himself.
I poured the tea.
‘Who is the extra cup from?’ they asked.
I accidentally poured one too many. I must have though Ophelia was there, gazing outside the window at her  own home from the empty chair.
‘I’ll have two,’ I said.

At Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom SauceAt Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom SauceAt Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce

Polenta ‘gnocchi’ are a dish, as said above, born to use leftover polenta. Polenta is one of the most common ingredients in Friuli, where wheat is almost nonexistent but there are several varieties of delicious ancient corn. Recipes from Friuli are simple, as, back in the early 1900s, it was one of the poorest regions in Italy. But its food, which varies from the earthy and fresh mountain flavors and down to the seaside, is some of the most interesting of the country and uses cinnamon and an immense array of cheeses widely.
This dish makes for a delicious veganizable (and gluten-free!) main course if you substitute olive oil for butter, and, since the mushrooms are so umami-rich, it will taste amazing without the cheese as well.
If using cheese and have no access to Montasio or Latteria, use Parmigiano or Grana to finish the dish, or any seasoned cheese you like and you have access to.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce
 
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
FOR THE GNOCCHI
  • 400g (14 oz) leftover polenta
  • 3 tbsps butter (for a vegan version, use olive oil)
  • Coarse salt for the water
FOR THE MUSHROOMS
  • About 450g (1 lb) Galletti mushrooms, or a mix of your favorite mushrooms
  • 4-5 fresh small porcini*
  • 4 tbsps butter (for a vegan version, sub with olive oil)
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • A scant half cup (about 100 ml) dry white wine
  • A couple sprigs of thyme, OR 5-6 sage leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated cheese to finish, preferably seasoned Latteria or Montasio (skip if vegan)**
Instructions
FOR THE MUSHROOM SAUCE
  1. Clean the girolles and porcini, or any mushroom you are using, with a cloth and a brush, so that you get rid of all the residue of soil. Mine were very fresh and quite dirty, so I also rinsed them under cold running water and dried them with a tea towel. Cut the mushroom in slices or smaller pieces.
  2. Add the butter, olive oil, herbs and garlic to the pan and turn on the heat on medium. When the butter melts and starts to sizzle, turn the heat to medium-high, and let the butter sizzle for a few seconds more. Add the mushrooms and turn the heat to high. Sauté them (or stir) to coat them in fat. Deglaze with the wine, and sauté a few seconds more. Let the wine evaporate completely. Add about ¼ cup water, salt and pepper to taste, and cover. Cook for 5 minutes. At this point, the mushrooms should have released their water. If they did, continue cooking, covered, for 5 more minutes, then uncover and cook, stirring every now and then, for 5 more minutes.
  3. If you used a kind of mushroom that releases less water, cook them on medium, turning down the heat to medium-low, rather than on high.
  4. When done, remove the garlic cloves and herbs.
FOR THE POLENTA GNOCCHI
  1. Prepare a pot of water, bring it to a boil and lightly salt it with coarse salt.
  2. Cut the leftover polenta into ½ inch cubes, and dump them into the boiling water. Once they float, drain them. It should take about 3 minutes.
  3. Melt the butter or oil in a pan and, once it sizzles, add the polenta gnocchi. Stir-fry, tossing every now and then, and let each side get golden. Once ready, drain them from excess fat and toss them with the mushrooms.
  4. Serve hot, with a grating of cheese on top.

 

MORE THINGS USING POLENTA & GIROLLES MUSHROOMS

– This Girolle Mushroom Risotto by the ever-amazing Valeria Necchio (and her book Veneto, which is so so good and a must-have);
Polenta Crostini with Mushrooms by Emiko Davies, who I had the privilege to taste and that are absolutely delicious (again, from her book Acquacotta which is so so good and a must-have);
– These beautiful Mushroom and Ricotta Tortellini by Twigg Studios, along with some stunning photos from Tuscany;
– The Mushroom Tagliatelle Betty Liu & I made together in Boston!!
– This (vegan) Pasta Bake with Mushrooms by The Blue Bride *insert heart-eyed emoticon* !!

At Ophelia's Home: Polenta Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce

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