cooking with catarina: polenta with gorgonzola sauce

If the rainy weather has you craving something cheesy and warm, this polenta with gorgonzola sauce inspired by Catarina’s Ring will fit the bill. The rich, traditionally prepared polenta is the perfect canvas for the tangy hues of the gorgonzola sauce with garlic sautéed mushrooms, a hint of green parsley and freshly grated parmesan. Pair with wintry brussels sprouts and a good book for the perfect cozy night in.

Polenta:

This recipe features the traditional preparation of polenta, so be sure to use cornmeal that is not the quick-cooking variety.

Ingredients:
5 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
1 cup polenta cornmeal

In a heavy pot, combine the water, olive oil, and sea salt and bring it to a boil. Add the polenta cornmeal and whisk until well blended. Continue whisking for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring frequently.

While the polenta is simmering, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter the bottom and sides of a heavy, ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron). Once the polenta has simmered for 25 minutes, pour the mixture into the skillet and smooth it. Bake it uncovered for 30 minutes and then remove it from the oven and let it stand for a minimum of 10 minutes to solidify a bit.

Gorgonzola Sauce:
Once you’ve popped the polenta into the oven, it’s time to create the gorgonzola sauce.

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons butter
1 pound white mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
2 garlic clove, minced
1 cup half and half
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish (important)
8 ounces gorgonzola, crumbled
Freshly grated parmesan to taste

In a skillet over high heat, melt the butter and add the mushrooms. Sauté, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add the minced garlic and continue to sauté for an additional minute or so. Reduce heat to medium and slowly add in the half and half, whisking constantly until well blended. Continue gently simmering for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and add the crumbled gorgonzola. Continue whisking until the gorgonzola has melted into a creamy sauce. Stir in the fresh lemon juice.

To assemble:
Scoop a serving of polenta into a shallow bowl. Spoon a generous amount of the gorgonzola cheese sauce over the polenta. Sprinkle on the parsley to add color and flavor, and then grate fresh parmesan over the top. Serve immediately.

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