I have to tell you... There's this little gem called Regina at the western edge of Little Italy, near Shaw. It's small... maybe ten tables. White tablecloths. Friendly service. The pasta is the best I've ever had. Really it seems to literally melt in your mouth and that's a lot to say about pasta!.I really love that place.
Although this may sound like a pitch for The French Connection in Toronto, following is our version of Cream of Wheat Gentrified. David's idea to caramalize the top is excelllent. Cream of Wheat à la French Connection
· 6 cups of milk · 1 cup of cream of wheat · ¼ to ½ tsp salt · ¼ cup butter · zest of 1.5 lemons · ½ tsp cinnamon · 1tsp vanilla · 1 cup whipped cream · ½ cup toasted almonds
Place milk in a large pot Add salt to taste Heat milk slowly until very hot but not boiling, stirring constantly. Sprinkle cream of wheat into milk slowly while stirring. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat. Add vanilla, cinnamon & 1/3 of lemon zest, chopped finely. Cook an additional minute or so, still stirring.
Place about one cup of cooked cream of wheat in each bowl Garnish with a spoonful of toasted almonds, whipped cream and a few strings of lemon zest in the center. Serve immediately, before the cream melts. Serve with an assortment of berries, maple syrup and the remaining toasted almonds arranged in ramekins on a platter. Yields 6 servings.
Notes: 1. Use a lemon zester to obtain nice thin strings of lemon zest. Reserve 2/3 to decorate. Chop remaining 1/3 finely. 2. Make your own whipped cream: pour 1 cup of 35% cream into cooled smallest bowl of mixer. Whip at highest speed until thickened. (Because this is a very small quantity, it helps to scrape the cream from the edges of the bowl into center a few times to ensure even consistency. Unless you have a very steady hand, do not try this while the mixer is on.) Add a little vanilla. Whip a little more. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required. 3. Toast slivered almonds by placing in a shallow baking pan in a pre-heated oven (350degrees) until golden and crisp. Takes just a few minutes so keep close watch.