Braised Celery16Celery is one of the vegetables that has many benefits and uses. It has a lot of vitamins and minerals that can improve eyesight, digestion, and so on. Celery stalks can be eaten raw or cooked. When cooked, celery stalks are usually used as an aroma enhancer. It is very seldom that celery stalks are used as the primary ingredient or shall we say, the star of the show. 🙂

Braised and Gratineed Celery Stalks with Parmesan Cheese is an example of such a dish. Cooking it might involve several cooking procedures – but I tell you, it’s not that complicated and  is well worth the effort. Try it!

Braised and Gratineed Celery Stalks with Parmesan Cheese

Ingredients:

For 6  persons

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2 large bunches of fresh, crisp organic celery
1 big organic onion, finely chopped
30 gr of extra virgin olive oil
80 gr of pancetta
Pinch of salt
Freshly-ground black pepper
400 ml of meat broth (I used an Organic Beef Stock Cube)
100 gr freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Preparation:

1. Prepare the stalks by cutting the celery’s leafy tops and removing all the stalks from their base. Save the leaves and hearts for other dishes. Then, remove the strings from the stalks with a vegetable peeler.

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2. In a pot of boiling water (about 2-3 cups), blanch the stalks. To do this, you simply drop the stalks, wait for 1 minute after the water boils again, then drain them. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400°.

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3. In a saucepan, put the onion and butter, then cook on medium heat. Let the onion sweat.

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4.Then add the chopped pancetta or prosciutto.

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5. Mix thoroughly and cook for a minute.

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6. Add the celery stalks, salt and pepper. Cook for another five minutes and stir occasionally. This will ensure that the celery stalks are coated well with the other ingredients.

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7. Then put in the broth, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, and cover the pan. Cook for a few minutes or until the celery stalks are almost done. Remove the cover, adjust the heat to high and let the liquid evaporate.

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8. Leaving the pancetta or prosciutto mixture behind, gently transfer the stalks from the pan to the baking dish. Arrange them inner sides up.

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9. Spoon the pancetta or prosciutto mixture and place it over the celery.

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10. Top with grated Parmesan. Put on the topmost rack of the preheated oven for a few minutes until the cheese melts.

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11. You should see a light crust forming on top. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes before serving.

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Happy eating!!!

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