If you have a fear of making polenta, don't like to spend the time it takes stirring to make it creamy, or you buy those tubes of pre-made polenta, then I'm here to change your life.
This is an oven baked polenta that comes out creamy with only two stirs. Really! I didn't believe it until I tried it. All you do is put cornmeal, water and salt in a gratin dish. One stir. Bake for 45 minutes and add butter and Parmesan cheese. One more stir...that's it. You can choose your toppings. I used mixed mushrooms and Fontina cheese. My niece Brittany used zucchini, onions, and tomatoes. This was our main course for dinner but it would also make a nice side. I think it would even be good topped with cooked ground beef, cheese and a marinara sauce.
POLENTA GRATIN WITH MUSHROOMS AND FONTINA
1 cup corn meal (polenta)
4 cups water
4 TBSP. butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
10-12 oz. mushrooms (I used crimini and portobello)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced (about 1/2- 1 tsp.)
1/4 pound Fontina cheese, sliced or Provolone grated
Heat the oven to 350~. Put the corn meal in a 2 quart gratin dish, and stir in the water, milk, and 1 tsp. salt. Bake for 45 minutes. Stir in 2 TBSP. butter and the Parmesan cheese. Return to oven and cook 15 minutes more.
Heat 2 TBSP. butter in a non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring frequently until the mushrooms give up their moisture, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the rosemary and continue cooking until the mushroom are dry, about 5 minutes.
When the polenta is done, taste and add more salt if necessary. Scatter the cooked mushrooms over the top of the polenta and then tear the soft Fontina slices into shreds and distribute them over the top of the mushrooms. Return the pan to the oven until the cheese has melted and begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Circle B Kitchen