Polenta requires a lot of attention, exceptional ingredients and decent upper-body strength, but when it’s done right, few things in a dish are as satisfying. We selected Manuela Darling-Gansser’s recipe for Polenta Pasticciata, which translates roughly as “messed up,” from her new cookbook because it’s one of the cheesier versions we’ve seen.
When I make polenta I always like to make more than I need. Then I can use the left-over polenta the next day to make something marvelous. This is one of those “next-day” recipes, baked in the oven to produce a rich and warming dish traditional to the foothills of the Italian Alps.
- 2 1/4 quarts water
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 18 ounces coarse polenta
- 5 1/2 ounces Gruyere, thinly sliced
- 5 1/2 ounces gorgonzola dolce
- 9 ounces mascarpone
- ground black pepper
- Put the water and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add the polenta in a steady stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Turn the heat down to low and cook the polenta for about 45 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- When the polenta comes away from the sides of the pan, it is cooked and ready to be served. Pour the polenta onto a wooden board or into a tray lined with parchment paper and leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Butter an ovenproof dish. Slice the polenta into 1/2-inch thick slices. Layer the bottom of the dish with a third of the polenta, then top with the Gruyère.
- Add another layer of polenta, then the Gorgonzola dolce.
- Add the final layer of polenta and spread with the mascarpone. Grind some pepper on top and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden.