Shannon’s Marvelous Mascarpone Polenta

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Shannon O'DonnellI had so much fun detailing the makings of our annual Easter Brunch two weeks ago (who wants to write about the weather when you already talk about it all day?), that I’ve decided to include another delicious recipe for you. I love polenta, but I’m pretty particular about it. I’m not a big fan of those hard logs of pre-made polenta you can buy in the deli section of the grocery store… I like my polenta soft and creamy. So, here is a super-fast recipe for soft, luscious, easy-cheesy polenta. It’s great under grilled salmon with a side of roasted asparagus.

* 4 cups chicken broth (I love to use ‘Better Than Bouillon’…it’s a rich, concentrated broth-base that you add water to. Takes up very little space compared to a bunch of cans of broth in your cabinet!)
* 3 Tablespoons butter
* 1 cup dry polenta (coarse corn meal)
* 3-4 cloves chopped garlic (again, I use the chopped garlic out of the jar–way easier, way less messy)
* 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
* Olive oil–enough to lightly coat a baking dish
* 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more for more heat!)

1) Bring chicken broth and butter to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Turn down the heat and slowly add the polenta grains and stir with a wooden spoon for 5 to 10 minutes, or until creamy. Stir in the garlic and mascarpone. You COULD just serve it like this…

2) But I like it ‘grilled’ and a little spicy. So, I coat a 9×12 baking dish with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and sprinkle red pepper flakes across the dish. Then I spread the above polenta in the dish and broil it in the oven for a few minutes. The top will get golden and bubbly–watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn! You can cut the polenta out of the dish and serve it under some grilled meat or fish with a side of veggies. Divine, simple and healthy–enjoy!

Shannon O’Donnell
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

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