For a foodie, there's nothing worse than expecting to get a meal, looking forward to a special meal and then having it stolen from you. Not literally stolen, although I suppose that would be terrible too. Figuratively stolen.
We were planning on driving over the border last night. A trip to Windsor, Canada's Little Italy. I've heard from other east-coasters that this is where it's at. This one mile strip in Windsor is pretty close to the Italian-American food of my childhood - of Little Italy in Manhattan or Hanover Street of my beloved Boston. All week I'd been thinking that I would gladly blow my calorie counting for one night of Italian-Canadian (?) food.
But alas, we did not cross the border last night. Elementary science fair preparation took precedence, leaving us with little time or energy for the hour commute back and forth. This didn't change the fact that I was in the mood for a high-flavor Italian dish last night. It also didn't change that my fridge was fairly low stocked because I was planning on a night out.
Eggs in purgatory came to my rescue. And it could come to yours one night too, if you follow these simple steps. Prepare polenta, according to your favorite recipe (see below). Top it with eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. Yesterday evening, I used a jar of arrabiata that I made with the summer's tomato abundance. Serve it with a simple arugula salad and chunk of your favorite toast (Zingerman's roadhouse bread, all the way). I was definitely satisfied by this dinner, and best of all, I didn't have to listen to little ones for an hour long car trip back home.
serves 8 (will make more than you need for this recipe - tomorrow's polenta fries!)
Bring 8 cups of stock or a combination of half stock and half water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Gently pour 2 cups of polenta into the simmering water. Whisk as you add more. Continue whisking for a minute or so to ensure that the grains separate as they enter the liquid. For about 30 minutes let polenta bubble away over medium heat, stirring frequently so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
Remove from heat. Add two tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup grated parmesan and 1/2 cup grated asiago if you have any knocking around your fridge. Stir in until incorporated. Taste and add additional salt and pepper.
Poaching eggs in tomato sauce
serves 4 for dinner
In a wide frying pan, saute 1/2 cup chopped pancetta in 1 tablespoon olive oil, until fat begins to render. Add one jar homemade arrabiata or marinara - or your favorite storebought brand. Crack an egg into a small cup and slowly add into sauce, trying to keep the egg together as you drop it. This is easy enough that my 10 year old successfully did it. Repeat adding another 7 eggs into the pan. Set the heat at medium low or at a level that the sauce is gently bubbling. Cover. Let cook for 5 minutes, but check eggs halfway through. Depending on how you like your eggs (I prefer runnier then they came out last night), this time might be shorter or longer.