When I sat down to eat this amazing polenta tonight I was reminded of my Great-Grandma. On special occasions she poured a huge pot of Polenta onto a board that covered the dining table. On top of that she poured Ragu, a rich gravy full of bite-size hunks of pork, meatballs and sausages. Everyone would eat off the board with a spoon. No plates allowed.
Polenta is a great substitute for pasta and a canvas for a variety of things; tomato sauce, vegetables, meatballs, and cheeses. I served this as a main dish with a salad but it works as a side too. This baked polenta had a perfect consistency! Moist and fluffy like a cloud with the right amount of Fontina, a mild Italian cheese similar to mozzarella but with a little more bite. The contrast in texture and flavor between the soft, mild polenta and the crispy, salty prosciutto is just insanely delicious! I think Great-Grandma would be proud!
1 and ½ cups Polenta (before cooking)
3 tablespoons butter, divided
Sea Salt and fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus a little extra for sprinkling on top
8 oz. Fontina, shredded
½ pound Prosciutto, rough chopped
10 fresh sage leaves
1. Cook Polenta according to package directions.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a 10 and ½ inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat up. A large quiche or pie pan will work too. Grease well.
3. When the Polenta is cooked remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan, a tablespoon of the butter, salt and pepper to taste, keeping in mind the cheese and especially the Prosciutto will add salt.
4. Remove the hot skillet from the oven and add a tablespoon of butter to the pan. Coat the bottom and sides using a basting brush or paper towel.
5. Pour the Polenta into the pan and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with the Fontina, then Prosciutto, then a little bit more Parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes.
6. While the Polenta is baking saute the sage leaves in the remaining tablespoon of butter until crispy. Place on a napkin to blot the excess butter off. Spread over top of Polenta and serve.