Faced with half a tub of mascarpone, a gargantuan bag of garlic heads, and a yen for something savory, this recipe was a perfect fit the other night. While I love using my cookbook library, there is something to be said for the tremendous convenience of typing “mascarpone and garlic” into Epicurious and being instantly presented with a list of dishes. And how great is it to have a repository of recipes from Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Self available free at the click of a mouse? (This particular dish was from Bon Appetit,September 1997.)
I’m more of a baked polenta girl ordinarily, but the thought of creamy mascarpone and sweet cloves of roasted garlic was enough to send me to the stove-top, wooden spoon in hand. It was a little more time consuming than one might hope, what with the roasting process, the subseqent cooling, and the constant stirring of the polenta. But the end results, while not the most fantastically exciting ever, were perfectly lovely- a thick and creamy, but surprisingly light dish to mark the transition from winter into spring.
POLENTA WITH MASCARPONE AND ROASTED GARLIC (serves 4-5)
30 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 1/2 cups (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese or cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss garlic with oil in small baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake until garlic is tender, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until garlic is very tender, about 10 minutes linger. Cool garlic; peel. Puree garlic in processor. Set puree aside.
2. Bring 5 1/2 cups chicken stock and 1 tablespoon butter to boil in large saucepan. Reduce heat to medium. Gradually whisk in yellow cornmeal. Continue to cook until mixture is creamy, whisking occasionally and adding more chicken stock 1/4 cup at a time as necessary to keep polenta soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in cheese, chopped parsley and roasted garlic puree. Season polenta to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.