Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Polenta and ricotta chips and cooking from scratch

Polenta and ricotta chips / Palitos de polenta e ricota

As I told you yesterday, I love making things from scratch if and when I have time for that, and the recipe I bring you today is a good example of that: in these delicious polenta and ricotta chips, I used homemade vegetable stock, homemade ricotta and homemade tomato sauce.

The vegetable stock is a precious hint I got from a good friend of mine: she makes her stock with the skins peeled off the vegetables (carrots and potatoes, for example), mushroom stems, parsley and basil stalks, the green end of leeks, that is, all the tidbits that would end up in the garbage. I’ve been making stock her way for a long time and always have some stashed in the freezer, and that is the one I used to cook this polenta.

The tomato sauce is the one I make over and over again, with canned tomatoes and lots of fresh basil, oregano and thyme, and it’s the one my husband eats by the spoonful if left to his own devices – if there’s bread in the house I have to make sure he doesn’t eat the whole batch of sauce with it before I even have the chance to proceed with whatever I was making in the first place. :D

And the ricotta is a recipe from the wonderful Donna Hay magazine I got years ago, 2009 to be more precise, and from that moment on I’ve never used store-bought ricotta again – I’ve been using this homemade ricotta for all sorts of things, always with amazing results. It has great texture and flavor and it is quick to make. Back then I used to line the colander with fine muslin, but a while ago I bought a fine mesh strainer and it does the job perfectly without the cloth.

This post might sound like a nightmare for those of you who don’t like making things from scratch, and I’m not here to preach, but believe me when I say that besides tasting a lot better than the store-bought versions they’re all easy to make – not to mention they’re very budget friendly, especially the vegetable stock.

I know it may seem like a bore to turn each polenta chip after their first 20 minutes in the oven, but that was the way I found to make them crisp and golden without frying (which was called for in the original recipe) – please don’t hate me. :)

Polenta and ricotta chips
slightly adapted from the always wonderful Donna Hay magazine

2 cups (500ml) vegetable stock
1 cup (170g) instant polenta
1 cup (80g) finely grated parmesan
25g butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g ricotta*
canola oil, for brushing
tomato sauce, for serving

Place the stock in a large saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Gradually add the polenta, whisking continuously for 2–3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir through the parmesan, butter, salt and pepper. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the ricotta and fold through to combine. Spoon and press the polenta into a lightly buttered 20cm (8in) square cake pan and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and brush it lightly with oil.
Remove the polenta from the pan and slice into thick chips. Arrange them on the prepared sheet 1cm apart. Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully turn each chip and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Serve immediately with the tomato sauce.

* I used homemade ricotta: 3 cups (720ml) whole milk = 200g ricotta

Serves 4

1 comment:

Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

I love polenta, what a tasty appetizer!

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