Eating My Way Through

Baked Polenta with Mushrooms and Gorgonzola May 5, 2010

Filed under: Dinner — Nikki Wegner @ 6:03 pm
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When I was in college, there was this great restaurant that served a lot of different dishes that I had never been exposed to before/would have ever thought to try called Fresco. My roommate used to push me to try new things, and I must thank her for one of them in particular, polenta.

Now polenta is really just ground cornmeal with a fancy name! It is super easy to prepare and can be used as a replacement for pasta in a lot of recipes. I love heating up  pre-made polenta rounds and topping them with tomato sauce and goat cheese for a quick post-work meal.

This week though I decided to try making it from scratch for the first time, and it really couldn’t be any easier. This recipe calls for mushrooms and Gorgonzola, but next time I might mix it up by substituting in a different type of cheese or veggie.

First, you make the polenta by bringing 4 1/2 cups of water to a boil and slowly pouring in the polenta and whisking constantly.

Polenta

Polenta

Add the salt and the butter and reduce heat to a simmer, stirring frequently for about 10-15 minutes.

As the polenta is cooking, get started on the mushrooms in a skillet.

Heat the oil, add the mushrooms, then the shallots and garlic, and then sprinkle with thyme and salt.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Once the polenta is done cooking, add in 1/2 cup of the Gorgonzola and the cream cheese, stir until well mixed. Add in 2/3 of the mushroom mixture and stir. Set aside the rest of the cheese and mushrooms.

The next step is to bake the polenta mixture for a bit, topped with the remaining mushrooms and cheese, so there is a melty crusty topping! You can use either ramekins or a glass baking dish. I chose ramekins.

To prepare, simply divide the polenta mixture between prepared (buttered or oiled) ramekins and then top evenly with the remaining mushrooms and cheese.

Polenta in Ramekins

Ready to Bake

Bake in the oven until the cheese has melted, about 15 minutes.

Baked Polenta with Mushrooms and Gorgonzola

Baked Polenta with Mushrooms and Gorgonzola

This dish would be great for a dinner party as the presentation is built in! I whipped up some sautéed steak to go with but I also think it would be great with roast chicken. One more note, if you reheat the next day, add a little bit of water, just a few splashes, otherwise the polenta could dry out on you.

Baked Polenta with Mushrooms and Gorgonzola (adapted from Real Simple)

1 1/2 cups instant polenta

2 tsps Kosher salt

1 tbsp butter

1/2 cup (4 ounces) fat-free cream cheese

1 cup (8 ounces) Gorgonzola, crumbled

Olive oil cooking spray

1 1/2 pounds button or cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 garlic cloves

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 tsps fresh thyme leaves

Directions:

Heat oven to 350° F

Bring 4 1/2 cups water to a boil

Slowly add polenta, whisking constantly

Add salt and butter

Reduce heat to a simmer, stir frequently for about 10-15 minutes

Meanwhile, spray a skillet with olive oil cooking spray

Add mushrooms and cook for 6 minutes, stirring and spraying with cooking spray as you go so the mushrooms don’t stick

Add shallots and garlic to mushrooms and cook until translucent, about another two minutes

Add in thyme and salt to taste

Once the polenta has cooked for about 15 minutes, stir in 1/2 cup Gorgonzola and cream cheese until well mixed

Add in 2/3 of mushroom mixture and stir

Butter an 8- or 9-inch baking dish or eight 6-ounce ramekins

Place polenta and mushroom mixture in baking dish, or divide among ramekins

Top with remaining mushrooms and Gorgonzola

Place dish or ramekins in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted, about 15 minutes

Yields 6-8 servings

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