Polenta With Sauteed Chard and Gorgonzola


As fall closes in on winter, the cold weather greens and warm, filling grains figure more in our cooking. A lazy weekend day meant I had time to make polenta the slow way instead of using the quick cooking (but not instant) de La Estancia brand. I followed Marcella Hazan's "no-stir" method, which really isn't no-stir, but definitely low maintenance, you just need to have an hour. Both the quick-cooking and slow-and-low methods make delicious polenta, but they are very different. The de la Estancia is bright yellow and tastes more of fresh corn, with a slightly rougher texture. Hazan's technique leads to polenta which is very mellow, creamy, soft and soothing.

Whenever I make polenta, I almost always double the batch and chill the rest on a oiled baking sheet. The next day I cut it into squares and cook it in a skillet with a bit of oil. The fried pieces with soft insides are delicious with a simple tomato sauce. The recipe below is for four, but will work fine to double or triple as long as you use a big enough pot.

The polenta is definitely the main event in a dish like this, and we don't want to overwhelm it. Strong flavors are fine but they should be in moderate amounts. I'd say the amount of blue cheese in the picture above is too much by half. I added just a few slivers of garlic and a pinch of chili flakes to the chard, and a drizzle of good balsamic on the side to round out the dish.

Polenta With Sauteed Chard and Gorgonzola
Serves 4
Vegetarian and gluten-free; vegan if you omit the cheese

  • 7 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cup polenta (medium to coarse grained yellow cornmeal)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • optional: 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard (any color is fine), leaves pulled from stems, washed, and chopped coarsely
  • 6 tablespoons gorgonzola dolce or other blue cheese
  • Maldon (aka the world’s greatest salt) or other finishing salt
  • black pepper
  • optional: balsamico tradizionale
  1. Bring water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Whisk the polenta in a thin stream into the water, stir for 2 minutes being sure to reach the bottom of the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover. Every ten minutes, uncover the pot, stir for whole 1 minute, and re-cover until 40 minutes have elapsed. Then uncover and cook five more minutes, and stir in the grated parmesan. Turn off the heat.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium-high flame. When it is shimmering, add the garlic and optional chili flakes. Fry for 10 seconds, then add the chard and 1 teaspoon of salt. Saute for a minute, add a little water, cover, and steam until thoroughly tender, about 7 minutes. Remove top and allow water to evaporate.
  3. To serve, ladle 1/4 of the polenta into a bowl. Top with 1/4 of the chard and 1.5 tablespoons of gorgonzola. Finish with salt, pepper and optionally a drizzle of balsamico.

Polenta on Foodista

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, November 3rd, 2008 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Main Courses, Recipes, Vegan or Modifiable.

9 Responses to “Polenta With Sauteed Chard and Gorgonzola”

  1. Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 8:29 am #

    Yum, I JUST picked up this fantastic gorgonzola and it might be a good way to use a part of it!! Excellent!

  2. Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 8:32 am #

    That looks really delicious – I just bought Gorgonzola cheese yesterday, so I might be trying this very soon!

  3. Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 9:09 am #

    It’s not often I see a photograph and know I have to make something – but this won my heart immediately!

  4. Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 12:50 pm #

    Dang, those are some fancy grits!!!

    Looks yummy 🙂

  5. Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    Perfect. I have lots of greens from my CSA, and this is how I’ll use some of them!

  6. Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 9:52 pm #

    That is one great looking dish!

  7. Reply
    November 4, 2008 at 12:56 pm #

    that looks down right disgusting….ewww

  8. Reply
    November 9, 2008 at 5:46 pm #

    This sounds really tasty!

  9. Reply
    September 25, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    Delicious. Simple, fun, pretty, and a nice balance of flavors. A “bunch” of chard is a little vague. I got about 8 large leaves from my garden, and wished I’d had twice as much. Then again, I wished I’d had twice as much polenta, too…and cheese. Maybe I just needed to make two batches!

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