polenta dumplings with speck
“canederli” di polenta allo speck
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour, 30 minutes
MAKES: 4 servings
Polenta dumplings, little round balls of cheesy goodness, are pure comfort food. (Note that there is less liquid in this polenta than most recipes advise because you need a very thick yet tender polenta to form the dumplings.) Speck is cured and smoke pork that hails from Trentino-Alto Adige. It has a more delicate flavor than bacon and is worth seeking out. If you can't find it, you can substitute prosciutto, but you will miss the subtle smoky flavor that speck gives the dumplings.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup whole milk
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups coarse polenta
- 1/4 pound speck, finely chopped
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a large saucepan, combine water, milk, 3 tablespoons butter and ¾ teaspoons salt; bring to a boil over high heat. Slowly add polenta in a thin stream, whisking; reduce heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until polenta is thickened and tender, 40 to 45 minutes.
Remove polenta from heat; stir in speck, egg yolks, cheese and parsley. Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes.
Line a large platter with parchment paper. With damp hands, form 1-tablespoon portions polenta into 40 (1-inch) balls and place on prepared platter.
In a small saucepan, heat 8 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat until butter becomes lightly browned, about 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. In two batches, cook dumplings until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch.
Divide dumplings among 4 bowls, spoon brown butter over the top. Serve immediately.
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