Gorgonzola Polenta and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I have sort of fallen into a Buffy hole lately, brought about by my discovery of Netflix on demand (I know, I’m behind the times on so many fronts). Matt, who’s succumbed to the Buffy vortex numerous times before, told me last night that I could be excused from cooking until my obsession subsides a bit. But I realize I must fight this urge, especially for you, my readers! Luckily, I have quite a backlog of recipes to present you with. And I still have pizza dough to make by the end of the month. It was my plan last night to go home and make a dough, but, you know…vampires called.

This recipe, for instance, is a great one for a fall night when you want to pack in a lot of Buffy QT. It’s not labor intensive, but certainly is full of flavor and autumn goodness. The leaves right now are in various stages of blush before they leave the trees nude for the winter, and giant squashes, sweet potatoes, and golden beets abound at the markets. One of the best things about fall is giving into what the vegetables of the season really want from you–that is, sweet, slow, roasting.

Polenta was a long-time Italian peasant food staple, especially in the north of Italy. It’s been eaten as far back as the Roman Empire. The reason that it never became as popular in Italian-American cuisine is that polenta reminded immigrants too much of their poorer lives back home, when it was often the only food available for weeks on end. America, especially post-Industrial Age, represented access to cheap meat and vegetables, so Italians in America dismissed polenta for quite some time. It’s increasingly popular these days, and is still as cheap, delicious, and filling as it was when it was filling the pots of the northern Italian contadini.

Gorgonzola Polenta and Roasted Sweet Potatoes
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/4″ rounds, or thereabouts
4-5 cloves of garlic, skin on
2-3 springs of rosemary
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 c. polenta
2-3 oz. gorgonzola
1 c. hazelnuts, crushed and skins removed

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a baking pan, arrange the discs of sweet potatoes in a single layer and throw in the garlic and rosemary. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for about 30 minutes or until soft and cooked through.

In a medium-sized sauce pot, bring 4 c. of salted water to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and lower to a simmer. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally for the next 20 minutes or so, until the water is absorbed and it’s creamy. Add the gorgonzola and stir it until combined.

In a dry pan, preferably something heavy-bottomed like a cast iron, toast the hazelnuts over high heat until they begin to brown and release their aroma.

To serve, remove the skins from the roasted garlic and smash the garlic into the polenta. Dollop polenta on a plate, cover with the sweet potatoes, and top with the hazelnuts. Then go watch Buffy!


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About Kate Soto


2 responses to “Gorgonzola Polenta and Roasted Sweet Potatoes”

  1. Tammy McLeod says :

    Wow – does that look great! I have a lot of sweet potatoes from our CSA and need to use them. Will be roasting them this weekend.

  2. Kate Soto says :

    Great! Let me know how it goes.

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