This dish is not for the faint hearted, so decadently cheesy, buttery and everything Italian. I use creamy polenta here, as it makes such a heart-warming winter meal but it can also be set cold, cut and fried as a starter, lunch or even canapé. The mushrooms can be any variety, wild mushrooms are amazing when in season, but chestnut will do fine. I make a simple pesto to drizzle on top as I love the fresh herbs and asparagus to cut through the dish.
25g pine nuts, toasted
½ lemon, juiced
75ml olive oil
50g parmesan, grated
250g mixed mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
Small handful of oregano leaves
First, make the pesto by placing the basil, pine nuts and half the parmesan into the small bowl of a food processor. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while blitzing to achieve a smooth, thick consistency, which is not too oily. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
To prepare the polenta, pour the water, milk into a medium saucepan, with 1tsp of salt and bring to the boil. Add the polenta gradually in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly. Keep stirring for about 5 mins until the polenta thickens and all the water has been absorbed.
Turn down the heat and cook the polenta through, stirring every few minutes to stop it from clumping.
Bring a separate small saucepan of salted water to the boil.
Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over a medium/high heat with a good drizzle of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to colour and soften. Stir in the garlic, half the butter and the oregano leaves. Continue to fry until any liquid released has been cooked off. Taste and season generously with salt and pepper. Take the pan off the heat and crumble over the gorgonzola to melt. Place a lid to keep warm.
Boil the asparagus for 3-4 minutes until cooked al dente. Drain off the water and season.
When the polenta is ready, add the grated parmesan and the rest of the butter. Stir through a spoonful of the pesto, leaving some to garnish. Season the polenta to taste.
Serve while still hot and creamy, topped with the mushroom gorgonzola mix and asparagus spears. Drizzle over the rest of the pesto.