This is a little different baked semolina - somewhere between a pasta and a fritter. Some call this kind of thing a roman gnocchi. The dish is creamy and crispy, savory and vegetal. It’s a light dinner or appetizer.
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup semolina
- 4 cups water
- 2 t polenta
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups bluefoot mushrooms, stemmed
- ¼ cup sliced green garlic, just the white and light green parts
- 1 t ap flour
- 2 cups homemade or at least unsweetened, soymilk
- 1 head radicchio, quartered, cored, and roughly chopped
- whole nutmeg
- Red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chiffonade parsley
- 4 unsweetened dried peach rings
A few days in advance, freeze the dried peaches.
Bring the oil and water to a boil in a large saucepot and whisk in the polenta. Simmer, tightly covered, for 20 minutes. Whisk in the semolina and keep whisking and cooking over medium heat for 10 minutes. If the batter breaks during cooking, becoming oily, just whisk in more water gradually until it becomes re-emulsified. Spread out onto parchment paper in a layer ½ an inch thick. Let set in the refrigerator for at least a half hour. Using a cookie cutter, cut out circles or other shapes. Set them on a large sheet tray, making sure that they are not touching and set them under a broiler for 20 minutes, until the pieces have shrunk and become more solid and a bit crispy, in other words, rendered. Let cool.
To make the sauce, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a sauce pan over medium heat and drop in the green garlic. Season with salt and sweat until the raw garlic smell disappears. Drop the mushrooms in to the pan. Cook for 5 or so minutes until they take up some color and become fragrant. Sift the flour into the pot and cook for 1 minute more while continuing to stir. Pour in the soymilk and bring to a boil. Cook for 8 minutes or until thickened to a creamy sauce. Season with salt, nutmeg, and red wine vinegar to taste.
Preheat the oven to 475.
Arrange the pieces of semolina into a slightly overlapping pattern in a gratin dish or on a sheet tray. Arrange half of the radicchio randomly on top. Then pour the sauce over in a thin layer, with random pieces of pasta and radicchio sticking out. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until browned on top. Sprinkle with parsley and microplane the dried peach over top as you would parmesan. Serve.