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Creamy Polenta with Kale and Ricotta

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Best New Chef 1998 Maria Helm Sinskey's earthy side dish of wilted, pleasantly bitter Tuscan kale (also known as cavolo nero) is made with plenty of polenta to make it creamy. It's an excellent accompaniment to roast chicken or pork.

  1. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  3. 1 pound Tuscan kale (cavolo nero), ribs removed and leaves coarsely chopped
  4. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  5. 1 cup milk
  6. 3 cups water
  7. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  8. 1 cup polenta (not instant)
  9. 2 cups Creamy Ricotta
  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over high heat, stirring, just until browned in spots, about 1 minute. Add the kale by the handful and cook, stirring, until wilted and any liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season the kale with salt and pepper, transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the milk, water, butter and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Whisk in the polenta in a thin stream and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, just until it begins to thicken, about 3 minutes. Add the wilted kale and cook over low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the polenta is very thick and no longer gritty, about 20 minutes. Stir in the Creamy Ricotta, season with salt and pepper and cook just until the ricotta is heated through, about 3 minutes. Transfer the polenta to a bowl and serve right away.
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