Polenta and Gorgonzola Lasagna
Photo obtained from Hip Pressure Cooking
Minimal cooking has been my goal this past week, so I decided to pull out my polenta log that I’d been hoarding for... let’s just say before the holidays.
I’d been researching prior to looking for recipes, asking around to veteran cooks I knew who explored the ins and outs of polenta and could recommend their favorite combinations. This pale yellow log of wonders is a staple in most kitchens. It can be prepared for breakfast topped with a poached egg, for dinner treated like a bruschetta, all the way to dessert in the form of a cake or pudding. The most common and recommended polenta combination kept ending on some sort of sauteed mushroom and cheese concoction. After poking around my own fridge and questioning my abundance of gorgonzola cheese, I sought out a recipe for my first polenta dish.
I thought the polenta log would save me the hassle that goes into its creamier homemade form. Slicing it was a breeze; it crumbled a bit on the edges but remained in its circular form. As instructed on various recipes using a polenta tube, I heated up olive oil in a pan and placed the sliced polenta to brown it before incorporating it in my mock-lasagna dish. Worst. Idea. Ever. Or maybe I just had no idea what I was doing. The polenta stuck to the pan, and in the process of peeling them off, the slices warped into deformed ovals. On the other hand, the thyme-infused mushroom sauce was effortless.
Luckily, I didn’t turn all of the polenta to mush. I first laid the untouched polenta in the baking dish, then layered with the mushroom sauce, cheese and polenta pieces. Aware that gorgonzola is a pungent cheese, I was careful in my sprinkling. Next time, I may mix the cheese with the mushrooms for a richer sauce. I decided to omit the grana cheese and pine nuts to make use of what I already had.
This lasagna-esque concoction didn’t achieve that crispy cheesy layer atop what’s found on real lasagna. Nonetheless, this dish had its own identity. It had a distinctive tang from the white wine reduced mushrooms and blue cheese. Because polenta is less about flavor and more about its spongy texture it complemented the aromatic sauce, making for one delicious dish.
Recipe adapted from Hip Pressure Cooking.