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Author Notes: This is an Italian twist on a Southern American favorite. My Virginia roots are showing — my mother and aunts would make spoon bread at least once a week. Sometimes of a savory nature with some cheese thrown in, or at breakfast when we would eat it with maple syrup or honey. This version adds ricotta, nutmeg, lemon and fennel seed to create a nice bouquet and a backdrop for the simpler flavors of corn meal and pork sausage. Very satisfying alongside a salad or as a side dish with a larger meal. You can also make it with polenta. —DSpeer
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup yellow corn meal
- 12 ounces ricotta
- 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano, softer variety, not too aged
- 3/4 cup cooked, crumbled, sweet Italian sausage
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- 4 eggs, seperated
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon toasted fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Butter a medium souffle dish
- Preheat oven to 400
- Bring water to boil in a saucepan
- Stream in corn meal, whisking until thickened, about one minute
- Remove from heat and turn into a mixing bowl
- Stir in milk and let cool to lukewarm, about five minutes
- Stir in egg yolks and romano
- Add lemon zest, juice, nutmeg, fennel seeds and cayenne to ricootta and then stir this mixture into the corn meal mixture
- Stir in the sausage, salt and black pepper
- Whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Then fold them into the corn meal mixture.
- Turn into the souffle dish and bake for 50 minutes until puffed and brown on top. Serve immediately.