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This stunning recipe by David Lovett, Head Chef of Uccello, is part of his new real, rustic and regional menu.
In a medium sized pot or pan warm the olive oil over a medium low flame or heat, add garlic, onion and a good pinch of salt, gently fry for around 8-10 minutes.
Once the garlic and onions are soft and sweet turn the heat up to get them frying, throw in the basil, it will pop and spit so just be warned. Give a stir and once the basil has wilted (about 30seconds) add the chilli and the tomatoes.
It will come to a boil quite quickly, now once it does turn the heat down and let it simmer away for about 17-21 minutes, it should thicken slightly but still have a nice sweetness and freshness. Check seasoning and adjust if need be, turn off and set aside.
In a saucepan bring your desired liquid to a rapid boil, rain in polenta constantly whisking to prevent lumps allowing it to come together and to a boil. As soon as it does we need to turn it down as low as possible (using a spacer if need be).
Now we need to take our time, letting the polenta slowly and ever so gently tick away, even less than a simmer, just a bubble every no and again, long and slow giving a mix once in a while to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pot.
After about 40 minutes your polenta will have thickened considerably, its grain will have softened but still have wonderful texture.
We now vigorously whisk in the butter and cheese, make it become silkier and more luxurious, creamier and damn tasty! Check for salt an add it if needed.
Spoon about 1/2 a cup into bowls, sprinkle some cheese and a spoon of the warm tomato sugo a little more cheese and repeat. It should resemble a raspberry ripple, with it's tomatoy squiggles, top with more grated cheese, either Parmesan or ricotta salata (firm salted ricotta) for something different.
*cooking polenta should be like making love to a beautiful woman, you need to take your time, be gentle and vigorous at the right moments.
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