Roasted Polenta

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 cup polenta meal (see note)
1 cup semolina meal (see note)
1/2 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese (or sharp cheddar)
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan, divided

Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, over medium-high heat, combine the chicken broth and pepper (if using homemade chicken broth, you might want to add up to 1 teaspoon of salt). While this liquid is coming to a boil, whisk together the polenta and semolina. When broth begins to boil, whisk in polenta/semolina mixture in a steady stream.

Continue stirring and cooking over moderate heat. Mixture will begin to thicken after a few minutes. Continue stirring. Polenta is ready when it is very thick and begins to pull away from sides of pot (approximately 7 to 10 minutes).

Remove from heat and stir in the Jarlsberg and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan. With a spatula, immediately scrape polenta out into prepared baking dish. Cool at room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 48 hours in advance of roasting.

Cut firm polenta into squares, triangles, or diamonds.

To roast, cut cooled polenta into squares, triangles or diamonds. Using a spatula, transfer pieces onto a lightly oiled baking sheet, sprinkle generously with remaining grated Parmesan and place in a preheated, 500-degree oven. Roast until golden-brown and slightly puffy, about 7 minutes.

If preparing for freezer to roast and serve at a later time, place cut pieces of polenta on a plastic or parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze just until pieces are thoroughly frozen (overnight, for example). Store individually frozen pieces in a resealable, plastic bag.

To roast, remove desired number of pieces from bag and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Roast (while still frozen) in a 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until lightly golden and puffy and thoroughly heated. Makes enough polenta for a 9- by 13-inch baking dish, producing 12 to 15 (1-inch-thick) pieces.

NOTE: Bob's Red Mill, a Portland-based company, makes both, and they are available in baking or natural-foods sections of most supermarkets.

VARIATION: For a richer polenta, prepare as above but substitute 3 cups of half-and-half (or heavy cream) for 3 cups of broth.


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