Sunday, 5 May 2013

Northern Italian-Week 3: Polenta con Gorgonzola, salsa funghi

Polenta at Osteria Giulietta e Romeo

Also in Week 2's class, we learned how to make polenta with gorgonzola cheese and mushroom sauce as a side dish for the breaded lamb rack.  I find that this polenta loaded with cheese is too heavy to company the lamb, so that I made it separately and served it like a main course. The first time that I tried an authentic polenta dish was in Verona, last summer when I visited my two dear Italian friends. They took me to Osteria Giulietta e Romeo for lunch. If you ever find your way to Verona, I highly recommend this awesome restaurant where you can get a nice tasting menu of Northern Italian food. Being lactose-intolerant and having grown up with Chinese food, I have only been  learning in recent years to appreciate the beauty of cheese in small quantities. The Gorgonzola is definitely one of the stronger tasting cheeses that I still need to get used to. But for the sake of this traditional Italian dish, I kept this cheese in the recipe regardless. 

Polenta flour, 250 g
1 L water to get firm polenta, or 1.2 L water to get softer polenta
gorgonzola cheese, 400 g
4 portobello mushrooms
1/2 onion
beef stock, 1.5 cups
1 garlic clove
salt/pepper, olive oil

To make the mushroom sauce:
1. add oil in a pan, sweat the onion and garlic
2. add mushrooms, and a pinch of salt to further sweat the mushrooms
3. deglaze the pan with the beef stock
4. simmer the stock and reduce the volume until it thickens up

To cook the polenta:
1. in a pot, boil the water, season it with salt generously
2. pour in polenta while stirring fast
3. when polenta starts to thicken, change to low heat
4. keep stirring for another 1 min 
5. take a tray, splash the surface with some cold water,  spread a layer of polenta, then add a layer of cheese chunks, then a layer of mushroom sauce, repeat the layers for one more time 
6. garnish with parmesan cheese and parsley

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