Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Heart-Shaped Cheesy Polenta

It's funny how food cut into shapes tempts even the most skeptical of eaters - and I'm not just talking about the pre-schoolers here!  A few months ago, I made this exact same recipe, heaped high in a bowl and nobody would touch it.  This time, the older, but wiser me had a plan.  Inspired by all the heart-shaped foods I've been seeing in magazines lately, I decided that a light pan-frying of this delicious mush might be just the ticket.  It worked!  Everyone felt the love.  Thanks Giada!

Cheesy Polenta
Adapted from a Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis, The Food Network

9 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal or polenta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.  Add the salt.  Gradually whisk in the cornmeal.  Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat.  Add the cheese, milk, butter and parsley.  Stir until the butter and cheese have melted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a bowl and serve.

*To shape into hearts, spread the cooked polenta onto a jelly roll pan and chill.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes and fry on a greased non-stick skillet until crispy.  Flip and repeat.

**I omitted the parsley just because green specks can cause great suspicion.  If you are not suspicious of green specks, by all means, leave them in!  I'm sure they taste great!

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