Skip to content

Archive for

Home Cooking for Restaurant Week

I love Center City Restaurant Week even though it has lost a little luster by actually happening for like four weeks a year now. Regardless, it’s a great way to try a new restaurant like I’ll be doing  on Friday in celebration of my husband’s birthday. But this year, the Center City District went one step further with a free, downloadable cookbook. Center City Cooksis a compilation of recipes from our Restaurant Week chefs. You can download the latest edition here and print it out as a whole, by section or by individual recipe.  There is even a seasonal calendar for locally sourced foods so you know when it’s the best time to get which local produce.

Here is my favorite from the collection:

Butternut Squash Firm Polenta (Recipe provided by Porcini Restaurant)

Serves 4-6


  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups peeled cubed butternut squash
  • 2 cups polenta (not instant)
  • Salt and pepper


Peel squash and cut into 2-inch cubes. Boil squash in 3 cups of lightly salted water until fork tender. Remove 2/3 of the squash from pot; leave the rest in the water. With a hand blender or food processor, puree remaining squash in the pot with the water. Then, chop reserved squash into 1-inch pieces and save to add to the polenta with 2 minutes of cooking time remaining.

Add butter, olive oil, and polenta to the pot with the pureed squash. Return to low boil and stir continuously. Slowly add heavy cream. Stir for 10 minutes and then add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low heat for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and pour into greased 9-inch casserole dish. Let cool and then cut in 3-inch squares. Before serving, lightly dust polenta squares with flour and then fry squares (on one side) individually in shallow olive oil. Reheat in oven when dinner is ready to be served.

Chef Tip: A nice Thanksgiving side dish that can be enjoyed alone or with your turkey gravy. Also makes a great stuffing.

%d bloggers like this: