Recipe – Baked Polenta with Gorgonzola, Goat Cheese, Pesto & Tomatoes

Its that time of year when we crave comfort foods like a steaming bowl of creamy gnocchi or perhaps some pasta with spicy sausage and loads of cheese. In my opinion, polenta falls in the same category but is often overlooked.

This recipe has polenta as a base; topped with oozing melted cheese, fragrant with basil pesto and studded with cherry tomatoes. It’s a satisfying alternative to pasta or risotto and this recipe tastes surprisingly light (not counting calories here, just commenting on the taste) – and extremely good.

All it needs is a salad of you favorite greens with a lemony dressing, or perhaps some steamed broccoli on the side. Or neither.

BTW, if you love polenta, I recommend trying this wonderful version made with butternut squash and sage  – it will go perfectly with your Thanksgiving turkey next month.

So…here’s the featured ‘Dish of the Week’ – comfort on a plate. BTW, its well worth investing in a cast iron ovenproof skillet for this and other dishes such as’ tarte tatin’ or anything that starts on the stovetop, goes in the oven and gets inverted onto a plate. This doesn’t get inverted and is served straight from the skillet…you’ll need to let the hot bubbling cheese settle down a bit before serving – five to 10 minutes should be enough.

BLOG polenta with gorgonzola, tomatoes and pesto 013POLENTA with GORGONZOLA, GOAT CHEESE, TOMATOES & PESTO

(Serves 4-6 as a main course)


1 tablespoon of extra-v olive oil

1 1/3 (415ml measure) cups of polenta

1 ¼ teaspoons of salt

4 (950ml) cups of water

2 tablespoons of basil pesto (preferably home-made)

2 cups (480ml measure) of halved cherry tomatoes

1 cup (240ml measure) of Gorgonzola, crumbled

1 cup (240ml measure) of soft goat cheese, crumbled

BLOG, polenta with gorgonzola, tomatoes and pesto 005Action:

Pre-heat the oven to 450F (235C), unless you plan to assemble it ahead to cook later.

Brush the inside of an ovenproof skillet with one tablespoon of olive oil – set aside.

Bring the water, polenta and salt to a rolling boil over medium-high heat in a large pan, whisking constantly. I’d wear an oven glove on your whisking hand as its going to spit hot polenta-lava at you.

Continue to cook/whisk for about 3-5 minutes or until the polenta becomes very thick and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Turn off the heat, whisk in half of the pesto then pour the lot into the oiled skillet and smooth the top.

Scatter the halved cherry tomatoes over the polenta and dot them all over with the remaining pesto. Top this with the cheeses.

(If you’re going to make it ahead, cover and chill but bring it back to room temp before baking).

Bake in the hot oven until the cheese is bubbling (approx 15-18 minutes).

Cut the polenta into four (or six) and serve it directly from the skillet.

About edibletcetera

I'm passionate about food; I cook, photograph, eat...then writes about it in that order. I'm also an occasional restaurant critic and caterer; a former newspaper columnist; author; social media/marketing communications; world traveler; dog lover; skier...and wit, (according to those who know me).
This entry was posted in Made in Under 30 mins, Pasta, Vegetables / Vegetarian. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Recipe – Baked Polenta with Gorgonzola, Goat Cheese, Pesto & Tomatoes

  1. Lovely! I discovered polenta earlier this year but must confess it was the ready-made stuff. It’s gorgeous how it soaks up the juices from whatever you cook with it, so the cheese and tomatoes I’ll bet are lovely with it.

    • Yes, its somehow light but rich and satisfying at the same time and I’m sure you could come up with a different selection of wild and wonderful cheeses for variety. The nice thing about the cherry tomatoes is that they sort of burst in your mouth. Mozzarella would probably be excellent too….

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