Last week I was lucky enough to receive a package from Bob's Red Mill with a couple of their products that I have been dying to try. I have been a big fan of BRM for a while, but I still haven't samples all of their items (check out their website, they have a ton-Wow!)! I was so excited that they sent me their Polenta, Quinoa (if you read my blog, you know how I love quinoa), and rolled oats. All of their products are all natural and organic, and they have a ton of gluten free flours and products as well. I have cooked with quinoa and oats a lot in the past, but I have never actually cooked with polenta before....well, not exactly. One time I found a premade log of polenta at Trader Joes, and I tried cooking with that. It didn't turn out so well. Since then, I have been somewhat turned off of polenta.
However, the first time I ever tried polenta was in New York City, at one of my favorite restaurants, Paprika. They had an appetizer that was made of crisped polenta wedges and drizzled with a blue cheese sauce. It was one of the best things I had ever put in my mouth! Delicious! I actually took a photo of it, which I still have, 3 years later....
I checked their menu to see if they still have it, and while they don't have it now, their menu still looks delicious and I am drooling reading it. If you are in the East Village, you need to check this place out.
Anyway, when I received the polenta from Bob's Red Mill, I knew I wanted to try to replicate this dish somehow. I found a great sounding recipe on Real Simple, and decided to overhaul it to be a tad bit healthier. I couldn't believe how delicious it actually turned out. The polenta was creamy, cheesy, and so satisfying. The mushrooms and gorgonzola were the perfect accompaniments. This recipe turned out a huge portion, which was good because everyone was definitely having seconds.
Cook the polenta according to the directions below...I can't believe how much it fluffs up and how fast, too!
This recipe says to cook your mushrooms in 2 batches, but I think you could get away with just one (save some time).
You can use a big baking dish, or little ramkins...I did one of each!
- 1 ½ cups instant polenta
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ TBS unsalted butter I used margarine, plus more for the dish
- ½ cup cream cheese 4 ounces, I used Neufchâtel cheese to reduce fat and calories
- 1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola 4 ounces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound mushrooms or 2, 8oz packs, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
- 1 small shallot finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Heat oven to 350° F. Bring 4 ½ cups water to a boil. Whisking constantly, slowly add the polenta. Add 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt and the butter. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the cream cheese and ½ cup of the Gorgonzola.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add half the mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes. Add half the shallot and cook for 2 minutes more (or until mushrooms are sauteed). Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil, mushrooms, and shallot. Season the mushrooms with the pepper, thyme, and the remaining salt.
Butter an 8- or 9-inch baking dish or eight 6-ounce ramekins. Stir ⅔ of the mushrooms into the polenta and transfer to the prepared dish or ramekins. Top with the remaining mushrooms and Gorgonzola.
Bake, uncovered, until the Gorgonzola has melted, about 10-15 minutes.
I really highly recommend this recipe! If you don't like gorgonzola, this might be good with a lighter goat cheese, but I love strong flavored cheeses!
Recipe adapted from RealSimple.com
Love quinoa like I do? Check out these other great quinoa recipes!