The Sunday-afternoon plan was to prepare Roman semolina gnocchi, but the perils of an untried recipe got the better of me. The dough, far too moist, refused to set as it cooled, rendering it recalcitrant to cutting into charming circles or squares to layer in a casserole.
A quick try to save the porridge by fashioning it into quenelles meant to bob buoyantly in a pot of broth produced excellent flavor but with all the appeal of waters muddied by a fish feeding frenzy.
When mush fails to take any sort of shape whatsoever, it is best to close the oven door on it and hope for the best.
So I did.
An hour's bake produced a golden-crusted, spoon-able pudding, denser than a soufflé but lighter than a terrine. I was not complaining. It made an excellent accompaniment to eggs fried in olive oil, balanced by a bracing arugula salad with a simple splash of red wine vinegar.
I didn't get what I wanted, but I did get what I needed.
Artichoke and Garlic Semolina Casserole - My Own Recipe
4 cups milk, divided into 2 cups each (I used 2% fat)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can artichoke bottoms (7-9 count), drained and rinsed to freshen. (Do not use artichoke hearts; they are too tough.)
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup Parmesan, divided into 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
Pre-heat oven to 400° F.
In a large saucepan over low heat, bring 2 cups of the milk and olive oil to barely a simmer. While the liquid is reaching its temperature, whip the remaining 2 cups milk with the artichoke bottoms, eggs, garlic and 1/2 cup Parmesan in a blender until it's smooth. (Keep in mind that the artichoke bottoms with provide some fibrous texture, so your mixture will not be quite as smooth as custard.)
When milk and olive oil are steaming and vibrant with tiny pre-boil bubbles, quickly but evenly whisk in semolina flour. It will almost immediately thicken the mixture to a loose paste. Remove from heat and whisk in contents of blender, beating vigorously to smooth any egregious lumps. Return to moderate heat, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken more but still be fluid. Pour mixture into un-greased 8-cup, oven-proof casserole. Place on middle rack of oven and bake for 30 minutes. Open oven door and slide rack out enough to carefully cover casserole with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Bake for an additional 30 minutes. Serve immediately, very hot from oven.
This is my contribution to Haalo's Weekend Herb Blogging #425 which I am hosting in English this week.
Thanks to everyone who joined in. I will have the round-up online early afternoon tomorrow, Monday, March 23, New York time.
Lucia of Torta di Rose will be hosting next week's WHB #426.