This lasagna is layer, upon layer of decadent flavor. The polenta itself is infused with lemon thyme who’s fresh bright flavor contrasts with the woody mushrooms and the salty , yet sweet, gorgonzola. For a surprising crunch, toasted pine nuts finish this dish. A change of pace from my usual recipes that are cooked 100% in the pressure cooker. Though without one, I would have spent all day making polenta instead of multi-tasking and sauteing while pressure cooking!
This recipe is a response to an invitation via the UK Food Blogger’s Association, to which I am an honorary member, to participate in the “In The Bag” food challenge, hosted by A Slice of Cherry Pie. This was the first blogging event I have ever participated in and I have to say that it really got me thinking creatively on how to use their list of required ingredients with, of course for me, the additional challenge of using the pressure cooker!
This recipe is a definite show-stopper for an Autumn dinner party. It is easy too, because you can do all of the prep work ahead of time, say in the morning, and simply turn on the oven to melt the cheese before serving. I have included lots of tips in this recipe that I often don’t get a chance to share with you while pressure cooking including how to clean wild mushrooms and using the most flavorful part of parsley (it’s not the leaves)!
- 2 cups (500g) coarse Polenta Flour (white or yellow)
- 8 cups (2lt) liquid (water or stock)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 bunch of Lemon Thyme
- 1lb (500g) of Mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned
- 1 bunch of Parsley, chopped (stems and leaves separated)
- ½ cup (125ml) white wine
- ½ cup Grana Cheese, grated
- 8 oz. (250g) Gorgonzola Cheese (Piccante or Strong - it has more blue and less cream), sliced
- 2 oz. (40g) Pine Nuts, toasted
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Begin by preparing the polenta. Oil the forms well and set aside.
- Then, make one pressure cooker polenta recipe with the addition of the fresh lemon thyme leaves before closing the pressure cooker for cooking (reserve a few for garnishing).
- As soon as the polenta is ready, pour it into your forms and set aside to cool while you tackle the filling.
- For the mushroom filling, delicately clean your wild mushrooms. Instead of just chopping the dirt-filled roots off, as you would with white button mushrooms, peel as little as you can of the outside flesh with dirt on it leaving the stem as intact as possible (the stem of wild mushrooms is flavorful as well). Depending on the size, either leave the mushrooms whole, slice in half or slice thinly to get all of the mushrooms to a similar size.
- Swirl of olive oil in a sautee' pan and toss in the finely chopped parsley stems (yes, they are more flavorful than the leaves but take a little longer to cook!)
- When the stems begin to sizzle add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and begin to soften and lightly brown them (about 10 minutes). When the mushrooms are close to finished, add the wine and fresh parsley leaves and delicately deglaze any yummy bits that may have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
- If your polenta has cooled enough to solidify, remove it from its form and firmly pull a sharp knife (without sawing back and forth) across the middle, horizontally, to slice.
- Now, you can begin layering your polenta "lasagna." Put the base of the lasagna on an individual oven-safe dish that you will use to serve.
- Over the base put a layer of Gorgonzola, mushrooms, and just a little sprinkle of grana cheese (to act as glue to the top).
- Add the top layer of the lasagna and cover with more Gorgonzola cheese.
- Put the plates in the oven, at about 400F or 200C just long enough to melt the cheese (about 5-10) minutes. Decorate with mushrooms, thyme leaves, toasted pine nuts and serve while the Gorgonzola cheese is still hot and bubbling.