She was already on board when I arrived. Seeing that I was looking for a seat she shooed away the pesky boy who was trying to get her attention. Offering the seat next to her, I accepted and we became fast friends.
At the age of 10 her rudimentary knowledge of english far surpassed my 22 year old attempt at Italian. Through miming and lots of drawing she managed to tell me that she and her classmates were from Rovigo, Italy; a city famous for its ceramic tiles. Her mother had passed away and she lived with her father a musician and their cat, Antonio. Daniella spent a lot of time with her grandmother and was learning to cook.
Many look at polenta as peasant food in Italy. Daniella's grandmother saw the value in simple foods that could be carted around in a busy child's backpack. To this college student with wanderlust, the simple fair was like manna from the heavens.
Here is my version of her offering;
Add polenta and water to a rice cooker. If you dont have one, add it to a high walled stock pot on you stove top. The rice cooker is easiest. Just point it to the white rice setting and let it take care of itself. On the stove top, cook on high until it reaches a slow rolling boil. The simmer, stiring ever 15 minutes until the polenta has reached a poridge like consistency. Cover and let stand a few minutes.
If you want to include cheese in the polenta, fold it in at this stage. Pour polenta onto a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Spread roasted fruit on top. Bake at 350f for 30 min. Let cool before cutting. Serve as an appetizer with gorgonzola cheese or desert with ice cream. These bars are also excellent for breakfast on the go.
More from recipes from the rolling hills of Italia.
Photo Credit: Julie Cecchini