Sometimes. When a girl’s got a point. She’s got a point.

I was a Sex and the City fan all through high school. And while I have no desire to view the world through Carrie Bradshaw-colored glasses (or to be almost 40. And single. With probably around a hundred men on my “people I have slept with” list. Unless of course, one of those men were Mr. Big. And it was guaranteed that we would end up together in a Blockbuster movie that grossed over 400 million dollars. I ‘d be okay with that.), I have to concede that there are definitely a few key take-home lessons thrown in there. Ones that have actual substance. Not just how to fold your body into every position in the Kamasutra (although that one is kind of important) a la Samantha. We’re talking real life altering stuff here.

Like, for example, that when a girl gets married. She should get a week. Not a day. A week.

Except that by “married”. I think they really meant “birthday”.

And by “girl” they were specifically talking about me.
And is this my absolutely shameless way of mentioning that my birthday is next Thursday (Feb 25th)? Damn straight it is.

So I am taking a week.

And to kick off this week? We start with what is possibly my most favorite side dish of all time.


Don’t you just love how that word rolls off your tongue? Like music. To your taste buds.

That’s the beauty of the Italian language. It can even make the phrase “corn grits” sound romantic.

And this particular polenta recipe, from the new Michael Symon cookbook, which has mascarpone mixed into it? Is a dream. An absolute dream. I do warn you though. That mascarpone is like crack. (Not that I would know what crack tastes like. But I’ve heard stories. From knowledgeable individuals. None of whom are me. I swear.) It is smooth and creamy and definitely one of the best tasting things on this earth. If you like cheese. And if you dont’ like cheese?

You should really get that checked out.

I ate this with a fried egg and some oven-roasted asparagus (400 degrees, salt, 10-15 minutes). Although I’m betting you can top it with just about anything and it will taste delicious.
Soft Polenta with Mascarpone
Serves 4 (okay 6 for those of us who aren’t gluttons), adapted from Live To Cook

2 tbsp butter (Symon calls for 6 tbsp. I decided I didn’t want to go into cardiac arrest before turning 23. You can do whatever floats your boat, no judgment.)
1/2 onion (although who has any use for half an onion? I used a whole one)
1 clove garlic
4 cups broth (I used six – it was too thick but I think this is very corn grit-dependent)
2 cups polenta/corn grits
1/4 cup mascarpone
1/4 cup parmesan

In a 4-qt saucepan, melt 2 T of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sweat them until translucent and aromatic, 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Slowly add the polenta while whisking and reduce the heat to low. Cook over low heat for 2 hours, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mascarpone, parmesan, and remaining 4 tbsp butter. Season to taste.

This is one of the two recipes for this week’s Symon Sundays! Be sure to check out Ashlee’s blog on the first to see how everyone else’s turned out!

This is also my submission to the lovely Reeni’s new blog event – Side Dish Showdown!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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63 Responses to Soft Polenta with Mascarpone

  1. Ha ha ha,u know u should be glad i dont live in NEw York, else the whole neighbourhood would know that the me (they wouldn know its me coz id be with a costume too)…with the whole disney gnag barged into ur building right on,when the clock strikes 12 ….would be singing….LETS ALL SING THE BIRTHDAY SONG…..LETS ALL SING ALONG…..

    Ok ok will be back right here on 25th……

  2. you fav recipes all through your b’day week did u say???….I am gonna read every single one! Hope you do land up with Mr. Big with 400 million budget movie…hahahha…I love the combination especially with asparagus and fried egg.

  3. Oh yum, yum, yum! That looks delicious Joanne, great combo! Have a great birthday week – I think you should have celebrated for the whole month! HAPPY almost BIRTHDAY! πŸ™‚

  4. What a great idea to serve it with asparagus and egg!
    I made the veal and polenta last night – my first time having polenta. I could only find regular cornmeal up here – and did need at least 5 cups of broth for 1.5 cups of the cornmeal.. but it was delicious! We had no idea. C especially was thrilled. He is now a polenta convert. I have lots left… I think the eggs and veg are the way to go.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. awww happy birthday (well advanced) joanne! i will definitely be around the whole week and since it’s your birthday… i will be cooking one of the fave recipes you post. I will let you know for sure! stay happy!

  7. HHAHA tra withdrawal? awww i’ll try harder to get stuff up! =D
    I FREAK OUT about that stuff about CPR too! like i really really don’t want to do it in case i mess up. so lame right? that’s also why i avoid babies AT ALL COSTS! =D i do like doing “choking baby” so you shoot out that black thing in the baby’s mouth (the dummy baby). YES! you need to try the yellow SP! it’s DELICIOUS!
    BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! =D

  8. Megan says:

    What a great day to have a birthday – my mom’s is the same day! And yes, she thinks birthday celebrations should last a month, not just a day.

    Love polenta – hot, cold, soft, fried – you can’t beat it.

  9. ARUNA says:

    Advance birthday wishes to you.

  10. Shannon says:

    ooh, i’ll have to remember that for next week πŸ˜‰

    i haven’t had alot of polenta, but really should try it again!

  11. Faith says:

    Happy Birthday (a little early)! I agree, birthday celebrations should be at least a week. πŸ™‚ This sounds phenomenal with the fried egg on top.

  12. Jagruti says:

    Hey Jo
    lovely and beautiful dish..looks awesome;-)) I’ve tried once…Happy B’day in Advance…I am sure you’ll have a smashing day..;-)) I’ll be here for more dishes!!

  13. chrystad72 says:

    OMG Happy early Bday girl!!! Awesome! Any big party celebration plans? Rock on for taking a week for your bday. I think everyone should have a birthday week!

    Love polenta and its such a fabulous idea to add some mascarpone. Yum!! I bet that makes its super creamy. Love the addition of the egg and asparagus. Delicious and well composed dish sweetie!

    Thanks again so much for that awesome response on my blog. I loved hearing everyone’s advice. I think Im not going to cut carbs out completely.. just maybe not eat them right before bed. ehhehe. More in the morning so I got some fuel for the day…So thanks again hon! I so appreciate it.

    I hope you have one amazing weekend!

  14. Bob says:

    You know, I still have never tried polenta. I actually live right near a deli that sells logs of it now, I really don’t have much of an excuse..

    Happy preemptive birthday!

  15. Karine says:

    Happy birthday in advance! πŸ™‚

    I think I had twice polenta in my life (or at least the 2 times I remember), but never polenta with mascarpone. It seems to be great combo.

  16. oilandgarlic says:

    The Los Angeles times had a good article recently about polenta, which inspired my husband to make it last night. I love polenta and mascarpone. I love polenta with ragu, polenta with baccala, etc.. I guess I just love polenta!

    Bob – if you’re trying it for the first time, I would recommend the ‘instant’ polenta (corn meal grains in a bag) over the log. Of course the real thing is even better.

    Your post makes me realize that I think of the seasons in terms of food — porcini mushroom season, polenta season, etc…

  17. teresa says:

    girl, you enjoy your birthday week! i really need to try your polenta. i’ve only had it one other time, but i don’t think i made it the best way. great post!

  18. Julie says:

    pleaase tell me you’re gonna make some honkin gawjuss cake for your birf and post the drool worthy pics.

  19. Marcia says:

    This looks delicious. Can you believe I’ve never had polenta except for the tube-type slice and fry? I will have to try it. And happy soon-to-be-birthday.

    Being almost 40 is okay, but I’m not single. I wouldn’t want to be in my 20’s again, but I’m glad I had the experiences, for sure!

  20. Pam says:

    I love polenta and your dish looks great! Happy B early!


  21. I absolutely love polenta! It’s so nice to finally find a kindred spirit who feels the same. This is a delicious way to kick off your birthday week! And thanks for sending it to the Showdown!!

  22. Pam says:

    Have a fabulous birthday week! I for one am kicking myself because I never thought to put an egg on top of my polenta!!

  23. ruchikacooks says:

    Have a wonderful Birthday week. Is this birthday gal gonna bake a cake for herself or are you expecting dozens of them from all of us (wink wink).

    Reliving the 18-24 is good, but staying single till 40..Nah.. Polenta and Mascarpone is a new combo. Yum.

  24. Kim says:

    I think you should definitely celebrate your birthday all week long, especially since you will be turning 23! If you were turning 35, you might not want to celebrate it all week long- LOL!
    I love how you served the polenta with the egg and asparagus. I think those flavors really go well together. Michael Symon really has some great looking recipes!

  25. Debbi Smith says:

    Not like cheese???!!! Is there such a person? This looks like excellent polenta. I don’t make enough of this, I need to though.

  26. I haven’t had polenta in forever and you absolutely just gave me a craving for it. Your dish is beautifully presented by the way. And happy birthday week. Have some fun! You deserve it!

  27. Hola Sweetie-wanted to ask ya-are my posts updating on ur google blog list? I seem 2 be having a problem-like what i posted 12 hours ago doesnt seem to be showing in the google reader-tried lods of stuff online googling away but haven got down to anythn reallyy….help……

  28. Hi joanne,many many happy returns of the day, have a wonderful week ahead…

  29. tried aroud with google to leave my complain but all got was a thread and loads of people are supposedly having this prob since dec ,but can i tell u i have not their address to email ’em:-)))

    Found a site for blogger probs but no place to leave a note-will check again but if u do have any email please please …help..and thanx a ton loads sweety…..

  30. Happy (early) birthday! This looks tasty. I usually think of mascarpone as more appropriate for sweet recipes, but it looks grood here.

  31. katecooks says:

    yay! happy birthday week! i gave myself a 3-day birthday weekend but a week sounds much better. i’ll have to upgrade next year πŸ™‚

  32. Happy early birthday! I love the way polenta sounds and tastes too, so comforting!

  33. Just when I think I know all things food, I see another great blog like this with a picture of a great looking recipe.

  34. Jen says:


  35. Tu as raison de demander une semaine de congΓ© pour un Γ©vΓ©nement important comme ton anniversaire.
    Bonne recette de polenta. j’aime beaucoup.
    A bientΓ΄t.

  36. Julie says:

    I have a bag of polenta that someone gave me (I get weird gifts), now I know what to do with it. Happy almost birthday!

  37. Lele says:

    I had a teacher in elementary school who said she took a birthday fortnight (the week before and after her birthday). I wholeheartedly approve of this.
    And I looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove polenta too. So so so so so much!

  38. Gulmohar says:

    Joanne , Have a wonderful week and a very happy B’day.
    This looks like a wonderful meal !

  39. PJ says:

    Happy birthday in advance, Joanne! and yes take a week and have blast πŸ™‚

    Polenta looks delicious and creamy.. its on my to-make list too.

  40. Hannah says:

    I have very little experience making polenta – Only once or twice from those gross instant packets – but everyone always makes it sound so good, I’d like to give it another shot. I like your take on it, sounds like a rich and luxurious side!

  41. Katie says:

    I’m a big polenta fan, and I think it’s the perfect way to kick off a birthday week. Hope you have a fantastic birthday!

  42. Mari says:

    You deserve a week! BTW SATC is the bible!!!!!! I never had polenta, you might have to make this for me lol along with so MANY other things

  43. Michelle says:

    Happy Birthday! So glad you are taking a week because I was thinking I might do that too. I used to celebrate for the entire week but stopped when my Mom told me I was being childish! Hey, maybe I should celebrate the entire 9 months!

    Your Soft Polenta with Mascarpone sounds wonderful!

  44. Nicole, RD says:

    There’s people in the world that don’t love cheese? Psh. Doubtful. πŸ™‚

    Happy early birthday! This dish looks WONDERFUL!!! I need to brainwash my husband into liking polenta…my list of “want-to-try” polenta is ridiculously long. Going to harass him now…he’s ruining my craving game!

  45. Cynthia says:

    lol I love your posts! You’ve got a wicked sense of humour. Why stop at a week really? How about a whole month! And you are so right about the Italian language. Actually, all romance languages seem to sound amazing even if the person were swearing a blue streak at you – it would just sound like they were whispering sweet nothings to you. Happy early birthday! You should totally indulge and eat mounds of ice cream with chocolate syrup and have 3 slices of birthday cake, just because you can ;)!

  46. Luciana says:

    Hello your polenta is excellent, so soft and also the egg and the spinach are appropriate…Very good…Thursday I come to your blog to get you the best wishes for your birthday….a kiss Luciana

  47. Laurie says:

    This soft polenta sounds delicious. I have never made mine with mascarpone.. yum! Thanks for sharing. Ciao..

  48. Marisa says:

    OOoh yes please – I’m a big fan of polenta. Cheese can only make it MOAR awesome.

  49. Debinhawaii says:

    I have not cooked polenta in forever but love it and bought some the other day to make. This looks delicious with the egg and asparagus.

  50. Joanne
    You counted how many years you have got before you hit forty? A lifetime!
    so enjoy them!
    I love polenta too, could eat the stuff every day, with or without mascarpone!

  51. Kris says:

    GO YOU! So many tasty accomplishments in one freakin’ post! You are AWESOME!

  52. Amy says:

    Hi sweetie – I’m so behind in my blog reading… my folks are visiting and Paul is in Vegas for business, so I’m juggling.

    I had no idea polenta was your favorite side. I’m actually not a big fan (don’t hate) because I always find it so gritty. But maybe I’m just making it wrong. I do love the idea of pairing it with Mascarpone cheese and a fried egg. Now you’re talkin’.

    And you’re birthday is coming! Now I’m really bummed I didn’t read this one sooner. Poop.

    Will read your latest tonight. Promise.

  53. polenta and mascarpone that’s an interesting combo.

  54. Katy ~ says:

    A week??? I have a birthday month!! No kidding.

  55. Merciful heavens! Polenta is such a gorgeous word and absolutely delicious. I usually TOP mine with mascarpone, but never thought of putting it IN. YUM! πŸ™‚

  56. Andreas says:

    Gorgeous polenta. fresh green asparagus is just a short time away.

  57. msmeanie says:

    The polenta looks delicious! I have to try to this recipe. I love mascarpone and I have been wanting to make polenta for the longest. I love SATC! Haven’t watched it in a while though. Happy early birthday!

  58. Karen says:

    This sounds wonderful! I can’t believe that I tried polenta for the first time just a few weeks ago! I grew up in New England… I don’t think we were allowed to eat “grits” and they certainly didn’t appear on restaurant menus and my Portuguese mother never would have cooked polenta. We ate Boston Baked Beans πŸ˜‰

  59. I DO love polenta (the word, ingredient, and dish)! Seriously, this combination of ingredients can’t taste anything but great.

  60. Kerstin says:

    Happy Birthday Week! πŸ™‚ The polenta and mascarpone sounds perfect together!

  61. wow looks amazing! Happy birthday! Love SATC too!

  62. […] One year ago…Roasted Red Pepper White Bean Dip Three years ago…Soft Polenta with Mascarpone […]

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