Once you’ve settled on the principal protein for dinner, then
you need to decide what will go with it.
Here are two choices with some surprising dimensions. The first is
well-seasoned pan-browned polenta; it’s flecked with cooked
vegetables. the second treats potatoes in a manner similar to risotto,
the creamy Italian rice dish. Its inspiration comes from CHarlene
Rollins of the New Bonnville Hotel in Boonville, California. Grilled
Polenta 1 samll onion, finely chopped 3 tablespoons each minced green
bell pepper and minced, drained oil-packed dried tomatoes 3 cloves
garlic, minced or pressed About 1/4 cup oil from dried tomatoes or olive
oil 4 1/2 cups regular-strength chicken broth 1 1/2 cups polenta or
In a 4- to 5-quart pan on medium heat, cook onion, bell pepper,
tomatoes, and garlic in 2 tablespoons oil, stirring occasionally, until
onions are limp, about 7 minutes. Add 3 cups broth and bring to a boil,
uncovered, over high heat.
Meanwhile, mix polenta with remaining broth. Using a long-handled
spoon, gradually stir the polenta mixture into the boiling broth; it
will thicken and spatter. Reduce heat to low and continue stirring 5
minutes longer. Remove from heat and at once spoon polenta into a 4- by
8-inch loaf pan. Let stand 30 minutes to firm (or cool, cover, and
chill up to 3 days).
Run a knife around edges of pan and turn polenta out onto a board.
Carefully cut crosswise into 8 slices; cut slices diagonally in half.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan on
medium heat. Fry polenta (do not crowd). Uncovered. Until golden,
about 5 minutes on each side; remove from pan and keep warm. Cook
remaining polenta similarly; add oil if needed. Makes 8 servings.
Potato Risotto 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine 1 small onion,
finely chopped 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed 1/2 teaspoon fresh or
1/4 teaspoon dry thyme leaves 1 3/4 cups regular-strength chicken broth
3 cups (u 1/4 lb.) peeld and shredded thin-skiined potatoes 1/4 cup each
whipping cream and grated Parmesan cheese Salt Fresh thyme sprigs
Melt butter in a 2- to 3-quart pan on medium heat. Add onion,
garlic, and thyme leaves; cook, stirring often, until onion is soft. Add
broth; boil, uncovered, on high heat until mixture is reduced to 1 1/2
cups. Add potatoes and cook on medium heat, uncovered, stirring often,
until potatoes are tender to bite, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat
and mix in cream and cheese. Add salt to taste. Pour into a warm bowl
and garnish with thyme sprigs. Makes 4 to 6 servings.