Make Polenta with Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

2 Feb
Polenta is pretty versatile- you can grill it in place of bread for bruschetta, fry it, or (my personal favorite) heat it with milk and cheese and serve it like a delicious warm porridge.  This is the perfect winter meal- creamy and filling but not too heavy.  We made polenta with Gorgonzola and mushrooms and topped it with prosciutto-wrapped asparagus.  Delicious.
Gorgonzola Polenta with Porcini Mushrooms (via epicurious)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound fresh porcini or white mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 pound Gorgonzola cheese, preferably soft, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)

For 1 recipe basic polenta, kept warm:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal or instant polenta

In a skillet heat butter over moderate heat until foam subsides and brown mushrooms with salt to taste, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add water and simmer, covered, 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender. Remove lid and simmer mixture 3 minutes, or until liquid reduces slightly. Stir in parsley and lemon juice and keep warm.

Stir 1/2 cup Gorgonzola into warm polenta until smooth. Divide polenta among 4 plates and spoon mushroom mixture on top. Tear remaining Gorgonzola into small pieces and sprinkle over each serving.

Garnish polenta with parsley.

To make basic polenta:
In a heavy saucepan bring water and salt to a boil and gradually whisk in cornmeal in a thin stream. Cook polenta over moderately low heat (it should be barely boiling), stirring constantly, until very thick and pulls away from side of pan, about 40 minutes for cornmeal and about 15 minutes for instant polenta. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm. Stir polenta just before using. Polenta will keep warm, covered, about 20 minutes. Makes about 3 cups.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus
  • 1 pound asparagus (about 15 stalks), trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 to 8 paper-thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise
  • truffle oil (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Snap the dry stem ends off of each asparagus and place on a heavy baking sheet. Combine oil, lemon juice and vinegar, drizzle the mixture over the spears, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss. Roast until the asparagus is almost tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from over and wrap each asparagus with one piece of prosciutto.  Roast for another 2-5 minutes.  These are delicious warm or at room temperature.

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