Asparagus and Tosi Gorgonzola on Polenta

  • Time: 1 hour and a half
  • Serves: 4
  • Level: medium

We went to Taste of London food festival at the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed seeing what was new on the food scene. There was rather a lot to take in and we quickly began to seek somewhere to catch our breath, away from the crowds. We headed to the City Cellar, a relatively quiet tent with several small artisian producers of wines and beers. Quite naturally, Mrs WDC was drawn to the Tosi Gorgonzola stall which was offering free samples of their own dolce and picante Gorgonzola with glasses of wine. I was struck by the quality of the dolce – it tasted so smooth and milky I thought I was eating ice cream (now there’s and idea…). Being sweet, spicy and creamy I immediately thought of my next asparagus recipe.

Nice as the cheese is to sample, it really comes to life when drunk with wine, the slight acidity provides a perfect balance to the rich sweetness of the cheese. More robust reds such a Chianti will match the picante, and whites such as Pinot Grigio go well with the dolce. Clearly, the folks at Tose, who make the cheese, understand this too and have opened a cheese and wine bar in West Smithfield, London – offering selected Italian wines for both their cheeses. The staff on the stall were all on fine form, well-humoured and generous. Good luck to them – if their success is a based on the taste of their cheese alone they will go far…

Mr WDC
Well, what do you know, here's a taste combination from out of the blue! Asparagus and dolci Gorgonzola. Add grilled polenta and well-paired wine and you will be in Italian food heaven.

What you need

400g asparagus

200g Tosi Gorgonzola doce (from Lina Stores in London) or other dolce Gorgonzola

100g Tosi Gorgonzola Picante (from Lina Stores in London) or other picante Gorgonzola (optional)

160g Bramata polenta (not instant)

1 lt water + half tsp salt

125ml single cream

2 tbs chopped chives

1 lemon



How Dad Cooked It

This is a beautifully unctuous recipe – but the cheese may need a little acidity to balance the richness. Serving wine with the dish will do the trick – otherwise, add a squeeze of lemon to the finished sauce.

1. For the polenta, using a large pan, bring the water to a boil and add the salt, then slowly sprinkle in the polenta stirring with a wire whisk. Bring back to a boil. Switch to a flat wooden spatula and stir, reduce the heat and cook at a very gentle simmer for about 30 minutes stirring regularly. Turn the polenta out into a plate or an oiled baking tray/brownie tray. Use a thin metal spatula to flatten the top evenly. Allow to cool for an hour.

2. For the asparagus, snap off the woody base of the stems by bending the spears with your hands. Peel the stalks only if thick and tough. Put the spears into a large and shallow saucepan, cover with boiling water, add a little salt and bring back to the boil. Cook the spears for 2 minutes, drain and set aside, keeping warm.

3. Remove the polenta from its container or plate and cut into portions. Brush the polenta lightly with vegetable oil and fry on a very hot griddle pan for about 4 minutes on each side – or until the polenta is marked with browned grill lines and it is heated through.

4. In a saucepan add the cream and heat gently, add the dolce Gorgonzola and allow to melt. Heat well without boiling. Season with pepper, adding lemon if no wine will be drunk with the meal (see note above).

5. To serve, place a portion of polenta on each plate and pour over the sauce, arrange asparagus spears on top and scatter with chives. If desired add a few small cubes of the picante Gorgonzola with the polenta.

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