Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Polenta with Toasted Pine Nuts

Polenta with Pine Nuts

Polenta is becoming the new mashed potato in many kitchens today. Many people are shunning potatoes because of the carbohydrates and fats, and for those who cannot eat wheat and have eliminated pasta, Polenta may be the perfect substitute starch.

The ever humble side dish, Polenta now appears on the fanciest restaurant menus, usually served as an accompaniment to meat and fish and flavored with many ingredients making each version a uniquely tasty treat. This creamy Polenta recipe is blended with Chicken Stock and crunchy toasted Pine Nuts and will be a favorite served with just about any main dish. Enjoy!

Polenta with Toasted Pine Nuts
Serves: 4     Total Time 40 Minutes


• ½ Cup Pine Nuts
• 2 Cups Chicken Stock
• 2 Cups Half & Half
• 1 Cup Coarse Polenta
• 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter mashed
  with 1 clove Garlic Confit
• Kosher Salt
• Fresh Ground Pepper

Preparation Steps

Step 1. Put Pine Nuts in a dry sauté pan over medium heat, tossing constantly until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.

Toasted Pine Nuts

Step 2. Combine the Chicken Stock and the Half & Half in a large heavy saucepan. Heat to a gentle boil over medium heat – careful not to allow the liquid to scorch.

Step 3. Begin whisking while gradually adding the Polenta in a constant flow.

Step 4. Once all of the Polenta is incorporated, turn heat to low and continue to whisk until the mixture is barely beginning to thicken.

Step 5. Stir in Butter with Garlic and Toasted Pine Nuts.

Step 6. Season with Fresh Ground Pepper and taste to check if Salt is needed.

Step 7. Cover and set aside until Ready to Serve.

Tips and Trending

~ Prepared as above, this Polenta makes a platform on top of which you can balance a hearty meat with a sauce over all.  

~  This dish makes a great side for any meat or poultry course when the Polenta is prepared a little creamier by stirring in some hot Chicken Stock, 1 tablespoon at a time, at the end of preparation.

~  Oil used for cooking does not have to be Extra Virgin. EVOO should be your choice when used for dipping or any time the oil will not be exposed to high heat. A good quality Olive Oil used for cooking will have a higher smoking temperature and yield better results.

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