Recipe: Polenta with Mushroom-Tomato Sauce and Gorgonzola

When you think of polenta (if you think of it at all), what usually comes to mind is a thick slice of cornmeal mixture similar in texture to pound cake.

The polenta in this recipe is more the creamy consistency of hominy grits, or thick mashed potatoes.

This is the perfect comfort food to serve at the end of a particularly stressful day. Mmmmm…

Polenta with Mushroom-Tomato Sauce and Gorgonzola

1 teaspoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed into paste
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced thin (6-8 slices per mushroom)
2/3 cup vegetable broth
8 oz. tomato sauce
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Dash of red pepper flakes
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2½ cups vegetable broth
½ cup (about 2 oz.) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Test with a drop of water – if it sizzles it is hot enough. Add the minced or crushed garlic paste and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the sliced mushrooms and 2/3 cup of the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms are softened. Stir in the tomato sauce, rosemary, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has reduced and thickened, and the flavors have blended, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover to keep warm, and set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix the cornmeal with 1 cup of vegetable broth. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the remaining 1½ cups of vegetable broth to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly add the cornmeal mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan, 7-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Gorgonzola cheese until melted.

Divide the polenta among soup bowls and top with the sauce.

Yield: 4 servings

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