Diva Tasting: Side Dishes…

Side Dishes 3

Best Polenta


4 Cups Water

1 Teaspoon Fine Salt

1 Cup Polenta

3 Tablespoons Butter, Divided

½ Cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, Plus More For Garnish


Step 1 Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan; pour polenta slowly into boiling water, whisking constantly until all polenta is stirred in and there are no lumps.

Step 2 Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Polenta mixture should still be slightly loose. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 to 6 minutes. When polenta is too thick to whisk, stir with a wooden spoon. Polenta is done when texture is creamy and the individual grains are tender.

Step 3 Turn off heat and gently stir 2 tablespoons butter into polenta until butter partially melts; mix 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into polenta until cheese has melted. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to thicken; stir and taste for salt before transferring to a serving bowl. Top polenta with remaining 1 tablespoon butter and about 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish.

One of the best fried foods ever. Only the best restaurants in California had this when I lived there.

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms


1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, Fresh

3 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese

10 Zucchini Blossoms

7 Tablespoons Rice Flour

2 Eggs

¼ Cup Milk

¼ Cup Sparkling Water

2 Tablespoons Sweet Rice Flour

Salt And Ground Black Pepper To Taste

1 Cup Oil For Frying


Step 1 Mix mozzarella cheese and Parmesan-Reggiano cheese together in a bowl until smooth. Stuff 1 tablespoon cheese mixture into each zucchini blossom and pinch the ends closed.

Step 2 Mix rice flour, eggs, milk, sparkling water, sweet rice flour, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Place stuffed blossoms in flour mixture; toss gently until covered.

Step 3 Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry blossoms in oil until crisp and pale golden brown, about 2 minutes. Rest blossoms on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Serves 5

Notes: I do not even stuff mine. I love them battered and fried simply.

To avoid tearing, be gentle while stuffing the delicate flowers.

Ricotta cheese can be substituted for mozzarella.

This version doesn’t use baking powder but you can add a teaspoon to puff the batter like a tempura.


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