This is uncomplicated comfort food from the woman who has been Silvio Berlusconi’s image consultant for the past 20 years and is now between jobs. I first met her in Rome several years ago when she described how she has been instrumental in everything from the choice of his suits, to the presentation of his speeches. Presumably he didn’t always follow her advice and latterly her job became a rather stressful whirlwind of damage limitation. She told me that she often arrived home from the office exhausted with little time to cook but enjoyed the nostalgic ritual of making a bowl of this parmesan semolina. There’s no spin involved here, unless you count gentle stirring. It’s a simple recipe that her grandmother and mother cooked for her as a child. And when she makes it for her 4 year old niece she loves it just like this. In a bowl, with a spoon. This recipe is very versatile and can be frozen in little portions. It’s great for babies under a year (without the egg of course). For older children and adults it makes a delicious filling for a baked potato or a more sustaining alternative to traditional cheese sauce on cauliflower or broccoli.
Preparation time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes
Serves 1 child as a thick soup or 2 as sauce for cauliflower and broccoli / jacket potato.
a knob of butter (15 g)
4 dessert spoons semolina
1 egg yolk (optional)
1/4 low salt vegetable stock cube
2 dessert spoons grated Parmesan or mature cheddar
pinch of nutmeg
400 ml of heated milk
1. Melt the butter in a little pan over a medium/low heat then add semolina. Stir until the butter has been absorbed and it looks like lumpy breadcrumbs. Sprinkle in a quarter of a stock cube.
2. Start adding the heated milk a little at a time, stirring continuously until the lumps start to form a sauce. This will take about 10 minutes. If you’re not cooking for a child under 1 year, add the egg yolk and continue stirring for 3 minutes or so. Add more milk if mixture too sticky
3. Add the cheese and nutmeg and stir. When ready the semolina looks thick and glossy. Sprinkle with grated cheese or serve on broccoli and cauliflower.