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Celebrating Face Lifts

Face Lift is a tricky term.  Use among the wrong crowd, and you can get yourself in big trouble for having crossed the boundaries of political correctness.  Technologists and architects use it often to describe the rejuvenatory applications that they subject their works to. Systems and websites get face lifts, building facades and kitchen cabinetry get face lifts.  Yet enunciate the term at an AARP sponsored bridge tournament, and watch out, duck fast and raise your deflector shields, as more than just a few old seasoned oxford wingtips might be traveling your way. Get the point ?

Well, today I will use the term, without hesitation and fear. I gave my blog a face lift, let me say it again . I gave Some Love Around the lsland , a nice face lift.. The bolder colors, and the lack of stretch marks made me feel embolden. A celebratory action was due. And what better way to celebrate , than to experiment a bit behind the island.

Bold flavors today ruled the stage inspired by bold changes to the site.  My base was a Viognier and Fontina sauce , flavored with Italian Porcini ragout.

Fontina is a deceptive cheese. It is not a blue cheese, yet carries a distinctive aroma that I would not characterize as mild.  Same for Porcini mushrooms. When you bring the dry ones back to life, they can be quite aromatic, and hence have strong flavoring potential. Use them in combination , and you'll  have quite a bit of boldness on your hands. 

For those of you have not heard, Polenta is Italy's other national dish, pasta being the first. The typical variety is yellow. White is fancier, and slightly harder to find outside of Italy.

Viognier Fontina Sauce

1 1/2  cups Viognier Dry White Wine
1/2 Fontina Cheese
1/2 cup H20
1 teaspoon dry thyme

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced


Porcini Ragout 
1/2 dry Italian Porcini mushrooms
1 close garlic , crushed

Additional Ingredients 
White Polenta
1/2 lb fresh Spinach Tortelloni   (Whole Foods Market)
1/2 lb fresh cheese Toterlleoni   (Whole Foods Market)

Viognier Fontina Flavored White Polenta 

White Polenta

The trick here was to use the fontina sauce as part of the cooking liquids polenta.  The mushrooms acted simply as a topping so that the polenta's whiteness would not be altered much.

Tortelloni with Porcini and Viognier Fontina  Sauce 


After cooking the tortelloni, and ensuring that they have remained "al dente", toss in them in high pan with the Fontina-Viognier  sauce, and some of the mushroom ragout . Add some Parmigiano to delicately enhance the flavor.

The fan club was very surprised, and after a few bites, decided that the tortelloni with the complete sauce , was the hands down winner.  I was worried for a bit . Indeed , I even had prepared a plan-B option: a portion of the tortelloni were tossed with some EVOO, and Parmigiano Reggiano just in case things flopped. They didn't.

Salute and Touché!


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