Sage-Parmesan Creamy Polenta

From Nelson’s Kitchen

I developed this recipe inspired on Gnocchi a la Romana. It has similar flavours to the gnocchi, but by achieving a creamy consistency and allowing the guests to spoon into their plates, it is easier to prepare because it does not require the cutting into small pieces and broiling of the gnocchi.

  1. Sage-Infused Milk
    • Put 4 cups of milk in a heavy-button saucepan.
    • Divide the bunch of sage into two halves. Put one half, whole leaves, into the milk.
    • Add 3/4 teaspoon of salt to the milk.
    • Bring the milk to a boil.
    • Turn off the stove, cover the saucepan and let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Cooking the Polenta
    • Uncover the pan, remove the sage from the milk and discard.
    • Bring the milk back to a boil.
    • Slowly pour the cornmeal over the boiling milk while constantly stirring with a wire whisk.
    • Keep stirring while the mixture thickens (about 3 minutes).
    • Reduce the stove to the lowest setting, cover the pan and let it simmer for 12-15 minutes. Every 3 minutes uncover the pan and stir with a wooden spoon.
    • Remove from the fire, the mixture should be thick, add one cup of cold milk.
    • Add the grated cheese, freshly ground black pepper and two tablespoon of butter and stir well.
    • If not serving immediately, leave the polenta in the covered saucepan.
    • If the polenta has cooled significantly, close to the serving time reheat it.
    • If the polenta has thickened significantly add up to another cup of milk to bring it back to a creamy consistence.
  3. Sage Brown Butter
    • Transfer the creamy polenta to a buttered serving dish.
    • Sprinkle the surface with freshly ground pepper.
    • Smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Then criss-cross it with the tip of a knife.
    • Cut the remaining sage leaves into fine slices (make a cross-wide chiffonade with the leaves).
    • Put the remaining four tablespoon of butter on a frying pan (best to use a stainless steel or a light-colour non-stick saucepan because it is hard to see the colour of the brown butter on a dark pan).
    • Cook the butter until it is a nice moderate brown colour. You will need to watch it very closely to allow it to develop the nutty flavour. When it is at the right colour, immediately remove from the fire and stir in the chiffonade of sage.
    • Pour over the creamy polenta trying to distribute both the brown butter and the pieces of sage over the surface.
    • Serve warm or at room temperature.