savories

Baked Meatballs with Cheesy Parmesan Polenta

Ah yes, Sunday dinners. I think we can all agree that Sunday nights are the saddest part of the week, knowing what’s to come. To counteract that, Sunday dinners in my house have become the solution- a fancy meal and a glass of wine to lull you into a sense of coziness so that you briefly forget that the work week lies ahead. This week? Fricken meatballs and cheesy polenta because why the heck not. And, because there are better things you can be doing with your Sunday besides individually searing each meatball, these are baked all at once and then finished in a mouthwatering and deceivingly easy tomato sauce that people will think you spent your whole day standing over the pot. Adapted from this recipe by Ina Garten, it’s served with a heaping portion of cheesy polenta in lieu of spaghetti, and as a diehard pasta enthusiast, I can promise you won’t even miss it.

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This weekend I somehow fell down a cooking/ baking hole where every project I’ve been putting off recently all accidentally happened at once. In a span of two days, I made a batch of raspberry macarons (following another batch of toasted marshmallow ones from Tuesday), the FLAKIEST biscuits I have ever made, a lemon meringue pie (coming soon), and this dinner. I think I stood for 8 hours straight on Sunday but wow it was worth it. But honestly, enough about that, let’s get down to what really matters, cooking and eating THIS.

Makes: 10 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: about 1.5 hours

Meatball and Sauce Ingredients

2 cans (32 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
2 onions, peeled and cut in half
½ cup (1 stick) salted butter
2 lbs ground beef (or 1lb ground beef, ½ lb ground veal, ½ lb ground pork)
1¾ cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
½ cup ground pecorino romano cheese
½ cup ground parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs fresh chopped parsley
2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup dry red wine
¾ cup water
Olive Oil, for brushing
Salt and Pepper, to season

Meatball and Sauce Steps

1. In a large, deep pot, add the crushed tomatoes, butter (sliced into tablespoons), and the halved onions. And honestly, that’s it for the sauce. Turn the heat to medium low, and stir occasionally, cooking for 45 minutes, or until the onions are soft.

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2. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400ºF and line your baking trays with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, breadcrumbs, cheeses, garlic, parsley, beaten eggs, red wine, and water. With your hands (or a spoon/ spatula) mix everything together until all ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout.

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3. Scoop roughly 1½ tablespoon amounts and roll them into neat balls with your hands, and line them up on your trays. Brush each meatball with olive oil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

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4. At this point, remove the onions from the tomato sauce, and add the roasted meatballs and allow them to cook in the sauce for 10 minutes more. Serve a heaping portion on top of a luscious bowl of polenta (recipe below). YUM!

Cheesy Parmesan Polenta Ingredients

8 cups chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cup stone ground cornmeal
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 cups fresh grated parmesan cheese (this sounds high maintenance but the fresh grated kind makes a difference I promise, it melts way easier and more smooth)
1 cup creme fraiche
½ stick (4 tablespoons) salted butter

Cheesy Parmesan Polenta Steps

1. In a medium sized pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil with the garlic. Reduce the heat to low and slowly whisk in the cornmeal to eliminate lumps.

2. Add the salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the polenta is thick. Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the pot!!

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3. After 10 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the parmesan, creme fraiche, and butter. Serve with meatballs and prepare for a food coma like you’ve never seen before.

xoxoxoxoxD

 

savories

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

You know when you get the sudden desire to go to New Orleans? Or is that just me? I’ve never been and I’ve been thinking so much about it lately, but since a trip is out of the question right now, I’ve settled for cooking some classic cuisine to tide me over. This gumbo, borrowed from this recipe from The New York Times, is the perfect treat for when a beautiful, sunny Saturday turns into a cold and stormy Sunday- its slightly spicy, hearty, and chock full of shrimp, andouille sausage, and that savory-sweet mix of slow cooked peppers and onions. It’s SO good.

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In other news, what a crazy week, huh? I didn’t even work a full week last week and boy was I exhausted. A fancy brunch in NYC with a friend, complete with tomato and polenta baked “Eggs In Purgatory” with a Rose Sangria was exactly what I needed to cure me, and I have a good feeling that a recipe for that will find its way here soon, never fear. Also coming this week will be one of my newest and proudest creations, Passionfruit Macarons! I brought them in to work a few weeks ago on a whim, and they were an overwhelming success, so I’ll be taking a second stab at it later this week.

Secondly, I have to confess something. I have a serious issue where I collect cookbooks and random kitchen gadgets that only serve one purpose. My poor parents’ kitchen is filled to the bursting point with my pasta maker, various zesters, piping tips, and cookie cutters. The newest addition to that family? A blowtorch. I bought one mostly for creme brûlée, but I also hear it’s good for toasting the meringue on a Lemon Meringue Pie, which I have yet to make successfully, so I’ll keep you all posted. I also got TWO new cookbooks for my birthday, another from Queen Ina Garten to add to my collection of Barefoot Contessa books, and one with the most stunning pictures from Maine, and I just can’t wait to dive in.

I had so much cooking planned for this weekend and then suddenly it was Sunday afternoon and I had done literally nothing so that’s on me, I promise I’ll be back in the groove soon! But until then, please enjoy this recipe for gumbo and have a wonderful week, you can do this!

Serves: 8 to 10 dinner portions
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients: (measurements for 4 to 6 in parenthesis)

2 lbs. (1 lb.) shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup (¼ cup) olive oil
2 (1) red bell peppers, diced
2 (1) green bell peppers, diced
3 medium (1 large) yellow onions, diced
1 cup, 4-5 stalks celery (3 stalks), diced
3 cloves (1 clove) garlic, minced
½ cup (¼ cup) all-purpose flour
2 tbs. (1 tbs) tomato paste
2 tsp. (1 tsp) paprika
½ tsp. (¼ tsp.) cayenne pepper
2 cans (1 can) diced tomatoes
12 oz. (6 oz.) andouille sausage, sliced into inch-thick slices
8-10 cups (6 cups) chicken broth
2 cups (1 cup) okra, chopped
3 tbs. (1 tbs.) salted butter
3 cups (1 cup) white rice
scallions, for garnish

Steps:

1. Making the gumbo base: in a heavy-bottom soup pot, heat your olive oil on medium and add in the onions and bell peppers. Stir as the veggies get soft and the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and mix to combine, cooking for another 3 minutes to remove the raw flour taste.

2. Next, add the tomato paste, paprika, and cayenne pepper and mix so that the tomato paste is fully incorporated. After 1 minute, add the diced tomatoes and liquid, plus the andouille sausage, and cook for another 2 minutes. At this point, season with salt and pepper.

3. Pour in the chicken broth (use the lesser amount if you want the gumbo to be thicker), and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen the flour and browned bits. Simmer the gumbo for 25 minutes with the top off, so that the mixture thickens. Taste and adjust your seasonings as necessary.

4. At this point, bring 5 cups (2 cups if using the 1 cup of rice) of water to a boil with the 2 tbs. of butter. When the water boils, reduce the heat to low and add the rice. Stir once to coat all the rice in butter, then cover and let the rice absorb the water for 20-25 minutes.

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4. Stir the chopped okra into the gumbo and cook until they become soft, about 5 minutes, then add the shrimp. Since shrimp cooks so quickly, let this mixture cook for another 2 minutes and then turn off the heat. Fluff the rice with a fork, and scoop a generous amount into a bowl. Top with a heaping portion of gumbo and sprinkle on some green onions if you’d like (I bought some and in the rush to eat I totally forgot, ah well!).

Tada!!!!!!

Now close your eyes and pretend you’re on Bourbon Street just like I was doing. Enjoy!!

xoxoxoxD

savories

Fettuccine Alfredo with Homemade Pasta

Oh man, it’s been a week. I know it’s only Wednesday, but I am TIRED. For some reason despite being so tired, I made it my top priority to try out the brand new pasta maker I got a few weeks ago and I am so glad I did. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but pasta is actually really easy to make from scratch. It contains only 2 ingredients, flour and egg, and while, yes, it makes a mess and gets flour everywhere, you can literally just use your hands and a rolling pin (although it’s definitely easier with a pasta machine). The recipe that I started with came from my trusty Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan, although some parts I had to improvise to get the results that I got.

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Now, because your time will be occupied making the pasta for this meal, I figure you might as well make things easier for yourself on the other side, and make a quick sauce that can slow cook while you mess around with the dough. In this case, it’s Alfredo. Taught to me by my mother, this sauce was probably my number one requested meal as a child, and some things never change. Containing butter, cream, and cheese, this is definitely not a healthy dinner, but when you need some comfort, this is the perfect dish. Let’s hope the rest of this week breezes by, but until then, I’ll be over here eating fresh pasta out of the saucepan. Without further ado, let’s get cooking!

*Disclaimer: I am not Italian (although I wish I was), this was my first venture into pasta making so I am simply writing about what works for me, I hope my methods don’t horrify any seasoned Italian chefs. If you’ve been doing this forever, let me know what your strategies are, I’d love to hear them!!

Serves: 3-4 dinner portions
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: about 1 hour (I know it doesn’t add up I’m just working in some wiggle room)

Pasta Ingredients

2-2½ cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs

Pasta Steps
adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

1. On a large, clean surface (I used a marble board, but you can use the countertop or a silicone mat as well), measure out your flour into a small pile, making a large well in the center. Crack eggs into the well and whisk them gently with a fork until the yolks are broken and slightly mixed.

From humble beginnings

2. Begin to knead with your hands until a dough starts to form, adding flour as necessary until you can press your thumb into the dough and nothing sticks. I ended up adding a lot more flour than the original recipe stated, but it changes based on the size of your eggs and whatnot, so everyone is different.

3. At this point, clear your surface and knead your pasta dough until it becomes smooth and stretchy, at least a full 8 minutes. Once this is done, cut the ball of dough into 4 equal sections to make it easier to work with.

4. Put your pasta roller on the widest setting. Flatten your first ball of dough and run it through the machine once. Fold in thirds the long way, and then run back through the machine, narrow side first.

5. Move pasta roller up from setting 1 to setting 3. Repeat step four on this thinner setting. Move the pasta roller up to setting 5 and repeat one last time. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the other sections of dough, until you have 4 long, thin sheets.

All the pasta

6. At this point, if you have a fettuccine cutter for your machine, add it. Otherwise, you’ll have to cut strips free-handed, but I just don’t have the coordination for that. Run each sheet of dough through the cutter, flouring and separating the strands once they’re cut so that they don’t stick together. Lay flat on a kitchen towel, making sure that the strands aren’t too tangled. Repeat with the other sheets. While the pasta is drying for a minute, let’s start the sauce!

Alfredo Ingredients

3 tbs salted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
Dash of nutmeg (I really mean a DASH, a little goes a long way)
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Alfredo Steps

1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add in heavy cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Heat for a minute or two on medium until the cream has been warmed through.

2. Stir in the parmesan cheese and allow the sauce to cook for around 5 minutes until it thickens and the cheese melts.

Pasta Pasta Pasta

3. At this point, cook your pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente. The cook time ranges for fresh pasta, but mine reached al dente at around 7 minutes.

4. When the pasta is finished, transfer it to the saucepan and mix until all the pasta is generously coated in sauce.

5. Serve with a generous dusting of more parmesan cheese.

Have a great week! xoxoxoD

savories

Penne alla Vodka

Whose idea was it to add vodka to tomato sauce? I guess if you’re thinking rationally, they were already adding wine to tomato sauces, so vodka probably isn’t a far throw? But wow I’m so glad someone did though, because there’s something about it that’s just so good. And while up until now I let my favorite restaurants do the work for me, this week’s snow day seemed like the perfect day to test some out myself. I basically followed this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and added little touches here and there, who needs restaurants when you can do things yourself, am I right??

Once again these weeks seem to be years long, while simultaneously flying by, is that a thing? I feel like I could fit three weeks into one Monday through Friday, but at the same time we’re almost to April already? Time is so odd. Although I will say I am overjoyed at the idea of no more snow for now. Bring on the spring air (and the spring produce, hello rhubarb!!!), I think we all could use a break from the cold. Until then however, serve yourself up a bowl of this classic pasta, with a bit of a spicy kick to clear away the last winter stuffy nose and to give some pep to your step. 

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The view from my Florence apartment; I can’t believe I ever came home!!

I’ve been in a very Italian mood lately, having studied abroad in Florence two years ago, I never really felt like I fully came back, and as silly as it is to say, there’s some part of me that’s definitely still there, and I’ll get hit with a random wave of homesickness for a place that I only lived for four months, but had such an impact on my life. I’m now slowly but surely practicing my Italian and somehow find myself in possession of both a Bialetti Moka Express espresso pot (which I now love more than anything), and a brand new pasta maker that I’m sure you’ll all be seeing a lot of in the near future. Basically what I’m saying is I’m preparing for the day that I can pick up and move back to Italy and never look back, okay? Now that we’re all on the same page here, let’s get to some cooking!

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Makes: 6-8 dinner portions
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45-60 minutes

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
½ tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you’re feeling brave)
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken broth
1 can (32oz.) crushed tomatoes (I like San Marzano tomatoes)
2 16oz. boxes Penne Rigate pasta
½ cup heavy cream
Fresh basil (to garnish), *I didn’t have any on hand so I threw in ½ tsp of dried basil, but found that it didn’t really add much to the dish so I’m not including it here*
Kosher salt + black pepper

Steps

1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pan or skillet over medium heat until the butter is melted and the oil has a slight shimmer to it. Add the garlic, shallots, and red pepper flakes and sautè until the shallots are soft and the garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 5 minutes.

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2. Add the vodka (keep your head away because I foolishly leaned over and got hit in the face with some vodka steam and I will NEVER make that mistake again!), and allow it to reduce by half before proceeding, another 5 minutes or so.

3. Pour in the chicken stock and tomatoes and give the whole thing a good stir. Now, the recipe I was following doesn’t cook this mixture for much longer, but I like a thicker sauce so I let mine bubble at this stage for about 20 minutes, to allow for some liquid to evaporate and leave a heartier tomato sauce. If you prefer a thinner sauce or you’re in a rush, bring your mixture to a boil at this point and then reduce to bubbling while your pasta cooks instead.

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4. At this point, bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it generously, and cook your pasta according to the package directions. Be sure to save some pasta water at the end before draining, as it can help your sauce some together and stick to the pasta if you need it.

5. Stir in the heavy cream and cook just until the sauce is entirely heated through. Season with salt and pepper to your liking here, and toss in the pasta, mixing to ensure everything is incorporated.

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6. Serve a generous portion of pasta with a sprinkling of chiffonade basil and a dusting of parmesan cheese. As with most of my dinner recipes, this is best served with a glass of wine and some good Italian bread. Buon Appetito!

xoxoxoxoD

savories

Beef Bourguignon

This past week, all but 1 of my siblings were home from college for break (we miss you Clare!), so what better way to welcome everyone home than with a pot of this cozy, warming, perfectly filling french stew? For so long I watched my mom make this stew for special occasions or snow days, and was always intimidated by it, until I realized that the work is very front heavy, and then, since it simmers for about 3 hours, you’re free to do other things. I myself am typing this as I watch it bubble happily on the stove with a glass of the leftover red wine- waste not!! It’s become one of my favorite decadent meals, with tender pieces of beef, buttery sautéed mushrooms, and and a heaping pile of egg noodles to carry it all. As a side note, don’t overlook the sprinkling of chopped parsley at the end, this stew has lots of (delicious) heaviness that really benefits from its bright and fresh flavor.

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We’ve had a lot of strange weather on the East Coast recently, and I’m always pleasantly surprised when I get snow days from work just like at school. Apparently it’s still not even over, and I’m definitely not complaining if it gives me a snow day, I just hope there’s some of this stew still left for me to eat in my PJs all day.

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This is the last time I cook with this many cookbooks and notes!!

This recipe comes from a combination of cookbooks, common sense, and wise words from my mom, that I finally wrote down in one place so that I wouldn’t have to keep checking between 2 cookbooks at all times, which gets risky because I am notoriously forgetful when reading recipes. The cookbooks used are Woman’s Day Famous French Cookery, and The New Basics Cookbook, both well loved books in my mom’s arsenal. They each make some excellent points, but I’ve taken the best parts (personal opinion only) of both and created this recipe that I will continue to make for years and years to come. Pro-tip: make this for future in-laws or important guests because it tastes and looks SO fancy, and they’ll think you were standing over the stove all day. Without further ado, go forth and get cooking!!

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Makes: 8-10 generous servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: ~3 hours
Total Time: approximately 3½ to 4 hours

Ingredients

12 oz. (8 strips) thick cut bacon, diced
5 lbs. beef chuck (also called stew beef), cubed
1½ cups onion, diced
1 tbs kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
3 cloves garlic, miced
3 cups dry red wine (I used burgundy, I also know barely anything about wine so)
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
2 tbs tomato paste
3 tbs salted butter
1 lb. mushrooms, washed and sliced
4 tbs all-purpose flour
24 oz. (2 bags) egg noodles

Steps

1. Sauté the bacon on medium-high heat in a deep, heavy pot (this is the same pot you’ll be using to make the whole stew), until crisp. Remove from the pot and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb the grease. At this point, dry your beef so that it gets a nice sear. Drain out all but 2 tbs of the bacon grease (but save it in a cup for later) and brown the beef in batches, searing on both sides, about 3 minutes on each side.

2. Once the last of the meat is browned and removed, add 2-3 tbs more of the bacon grease and add the diced onion. Cook on medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the bacon and the beef back into the pot, along with salt, pepper, garlic, bay leaves, red wine, beef stock, thyme, and tomato paste. Cover and turn the heat down to low, simmering for about 3 hours, or until the beef is tender.

4. Towards the end of the stew simmering process, melt 3 tablespoons of salted butter in a skillet on medium heat, and sauté sliced mushrooms until golden and soft, around 10-15 minutes. Add to the stew and mix until evenly distributed.

5. In a small bowl, mix together the flour with just enough water to form a thick paste, and stir this into the stew. Allow to cook for another 15 minutes or so until the stew has thickened. Make sure to remove the bay leaves now!!

6. While the stew is in it’s last 15 minute stage, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and cook egg noodles according to package instructions.

7. For each serving, start with a generous helping of egg noodles, ladle the stew on top, and finish with some of the parsley. Best enjoyed with bread and a glass of wine. YUM!

xoxoxoxoD

savories

Shrimp and Cheesy Grits

In my house growing up, any dish that had shrimp in it was always the first to go. My grandpa used to make gumbo and we would fight over the shrimp until the pot was just sauce and some andouille sausage left, and I have pretty distinct memories of the eight of us demolishing a Costco party-size shrimp cocktail platter in under 10 minutes. We LOVE shrimp. But the other day was one of those rare occasions where no one was home, so I actually got to share a meal with my parents, and do you know what I made? Well I mean, besides the fact that you can see from the title, you can bet that I made shrimp. I jump back and forth on what my favorite way to eat shrimp is, although, there really is no wrong way. But when it’s chilly outside and you’re in the mood for something hearty and cozy, look no further than this recipe. Adapted from this one found in the New York Times, this dish has essentially everything you need- cheesy goodness, a rich, creamy tomato sauce that you can sop up with a toasty piece of bread, and SO much shrimp. Need I say more??

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As an exciting, random sidebar, here’s a fun story! Approximately 2.5 years ago while studying abroad in Florence, I was traveling to Dublin to see my roommate, and it was my first time flying by myself. I’m naturally a nervous traveler/ flyer, so I really needed things to go smoothly, which of course, they DIDN’T.  My flight was delayed 8 HOURS, and upon seeing me approach mental breakdown, two women from Ireland welcomed me to eat lunch with them and to wait out the delay with them. Flash forward to now, we have remained in contact this whole time, and they’re COMING TO NEW YORK!! For their first time ever!! And I get to see them!! What do you make for dinner when very important Irish guests are coming? Really who knows.

BUT back to the point of this post, this meal right here is just waiting to be made by you, so let’s get to it!!

Makes: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: ~1 hour

 

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Grits Ingredients

¾ cup grits
¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
3 tbs salted butter
Salt

Steps

1. Bring 3½ cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, and add in the grits and salt. Turn the heat down to low and cover, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the water has been completely absorbed and the grits are tender.

2. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the butter and cheese until fully combined. Cover and keep warm until serving.

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Shrimp Ingredients

4 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil (I like a mix of butter and olive oil for this)
2 onions, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28oz. can of diced tomatoes (and the juice)
2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
3 tbs flour
1½ lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ to 1 cup chicken stock (or seafood stock if you’ve got it)
2 tbs tomato paste
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 tbs Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco, several dashes (to taste)
Salt, to taste
Parsley, for garnish

Steps

1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic, peppers, and onion. Sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the Old Bay and bring the whole thing to a simmer. Cook for another 5 minutes.

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2. Sprinkle in the flour and mix to combine. Add in the shrimp and stir constantly as they cook; it should be about 3 minutes, shrimp cook so fast!

3. Add the first ½ cup of stock and let it simmer, then add in the tomato paste and make sure it gets properly mixed in. Stir in the cream, Worcestershire (I will literally never spell this right on the first try), and tabasco, plus more stock as needed to make the sauce thick enough to coat the shrimp but thin enough that it’s spoonable.

4. Heat through entirely (without bringing to a boil), and adjust your seasonings as necessary.

Serve with a generous helping of grits, a sprinkling of parsley, and a toasty piece of bread!

Enjoy!!! xoxoxoxD

 

savories

Fried Polenta Cakes with Spicy Tomato-Kale Sauce and an Olive Oil Fried Egg

WOW this name is a mouthful. But trust me, every aspect of this recipe needed to be there, they work together to create one of the most comforting, magical, and deceivingly easy dinners.

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This past week I had a taste of what it would be like to live alone (my family was traveling but I still had work because adult life is nonsense), and wow I just don’t think I’m cut out for it. When left to my own devices, I grocery shop so irrationally it’s just embarrassing. For starters, I dropped $22 on saffron because I’d never tried it before (it was amazing and I made Risotto al Milanese and I regret NOTHING but that’s not the point), bought 3 different bottles of wine and a bottle of cognac for separate recipes and used half a cup of each, AND bought a selection of mixed berries to impulsively bake a pie (recipe for that coming soon!!).

It was only three days someone please help me get my life together. Anyway, let’s break this meal down shall we? These polenta rounds are pan-fried until crispy, then topped with a spicy tomato sauce (almost too spicy because I got carried away but I learned my lesson don’t worry), aaaaand as if it couldn’t get any better, a runny but crispy olive oil fried egg is plopped on top to make you feel like you’re eating fancy brunch while eating dinner on your couch. Topped with a downy sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese, please try to hold back your tears of joy as you eat this.

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Let’s go!!

Makes: 4 dinner servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: about an hour

Ingredients:

1 lb. polenta (I used already made and chilled polenta in tube-form, but you can make your own!)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
½ to ¾ tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)
½ tsp anchovy paste
1 can crushed tomatoes
A splash of red wine (since I was already drinking it, but optional)
Handful of curly kale, rib removed and roughly chopped
4 eggs, for frying
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated

Steps:

1. In a saucepan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium and add the diced onions. Cook until the onions become soft and transparent. Stir in the minced garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking for just another minute, until garlic becomes fragrant but not brown and bitter. Add the anchovy paste and mix to combine.

2. Pour in your can of crushed tomatoes and stir, making sure all the contents are incorporated, and splash in the red wine if you want it! Turn the heat down slightly and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Toss in the kale and cook, covered, until it has wilted and softened, another 15 minutes.

3. While the sauce is cooking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium in a separate frying pan. Slice your polenta into circles about an inch thick, and fry on both sides (about 10 minutes per side), until they are golden brown and crispy. Once the polenta is done, in the same pan, add a tablespoon more olive oil per egg and allow it to get very hot (about a minute). Add your egg for frying (you can fit two at a time if necessary), and fry until the whites are opaque and the yolk is your desired consistency, about 2 minutes. Swirl the pan around as you cook to make sure nothing sticks, and baste your egg with the hot oil as necessary. Season with salt and pepper.

4. To serve, pile 3 to 4 polenta cakes on your plate, smother with a generous portion of sauce, and top with a fried egg. Add a generous grating of parmesan cheese and enjoy!!

xoxoxoD