Bollito di Puntarelle
Source: Blossom Bluff Orchards.
1 pound of ground chicken or turkey meat
Salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups grated parmigiano
3-4 pounds puntarelle, shoots individually cut from the plant, trimmed and split plus inner tender leaves
½-⅔ pound mozzarella, jack, or comte cheese, shredded
3 cups chicken stock
For the puntarelle
- Thoroughly trim all outer hard leaves until you get to leaves that when split in half do not produce filaments. In other words, they can be split cleanly. This indicates that the leaves are now tender. After setting aside the tender leaves in a large bowl, pull individual shoots from the core, trim the hard end of the shoot and cut in half the long way. When you get down to the central core, cut the hard part (bottom) off and cut in two or four parts the long way.
- Soak about 2 pounds of usable leaves and shoots in a water bowl. Wash and drain a couple of times to get rid of residual sand.
For the soup
- Mix together the ground meat, parsley, egg, salt, pepper garlic and 1 cup parmigiano. Make little meatballs and fry them in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until browned. Set aside. Boil the puntarelle in a pot of boiling water (3-4 minutes). Do not overcook. Puntarelle should still be hard when you pour water out and blanch in cold water. Reserve 1-2 cups of the cooking liquid.
- In a small, relatively deep pot (a 3 quart pot will do), add a layer of blanched puntarelle, grated mozzarella, and meatballs, salt, and pepper. Continue layering until puntarelle are gone. End the layers with a layer of meatballs, grated parmigiano. Pour the reserved cooking liquid in the pot and add 3 cups of chicken stock.
- Cover the pot and cook over low heat until the flavors have blended, the cheese has melted, and the puntarelle are tender (about 20-30 minutes). By dunking some crusty bread into the soup, this becomes a complete meal! Bon appetite!