baked polenta with mushrooms, gorgonzola cheese and tomato sauce

Say hello to my new favorite food:

I can’t believe I’ve never made homemade polenta before! It’s, like, totally ridiculous how easy it is…and how delicious!

Lately, I’ve been really inspired by certain restaurant dishes that we’ve tried and this baked polenta with mushrooms, gorgonzola cheese and tomato sauce is one of them. A version of it is on the menu of a great Italian restaurant in town and we always order it as an appetizer whenever we go.

Layers of creamy polenta with mushrooms, cheese and sauce??? Yes.

I’d like to say I would serve this as a side alongside some roast chicken or something, but really, it’s a meal in itself! I don’t know anyone who could resist a warm cheesy bowl of this—I mean, Italian food is comforting for a reason! Next time I might add some spicy chicken sausage in between the layers, but this alone is lick-your-plate good.

Plus, does standing over the stove stirring cornmeal into water make anyone else feel like Ma making hasty pudding??? I thought so.

Baked Polenta with Mushrooms, Gorgonzola Cheese and Tomato Sauce

serves 8

polenta recipe from Giada De Laurentis

Print this recipe!


6 cups water

1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal

2 tsp salt

2 tbsp butter

1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce

8 oz sliced mushrooms

1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese


Bring the water and salt to a rolling boil then slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Mixture will get very thick. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until very, very thick. Add butter and stir until melted.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Scoop polenta into a large ovenproof casserole dish. Top with the sliced mushrooms, then the tomato sauce and finally, the cheese. Cover and bake for 45 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the cheese has melted. Serve.


1 hour

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  • Khushboo
    October 27, 2011 at 4:20 am

    Mmmm carbs+marinara sauce+cheese is always a win in my book…comfort food at its finest!

  • Lys
    October 27, 2011 at 4:20 am

    I absolutely love polenta! If I could swim in a vat of it, with extra parmesan cheese, I think I could die happy.

    My favorite way to eat it is with a side braised kale. Then, oh then, a runny egg is broken over it. Dust it with parmesan, swirl it all together.

    I. die.

    Thanks for sharing a new way to eat polenta, as Roo loves gorgonzola cheese and I have never turned down a good shroom.

  • Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray
    October 27, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Yum! This looks so delicious!

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    October 27, 2011 at 4:40 am

    My first thought upon reading the post’s title: I’ve never made polenta! Muchly relieved when I saw you hadn’t either. Thought I was living in the stone age for a second!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    October 27, 2011 at 4:45 am

    my mind = blown. this could be bad bad news for my waistline ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Emily @ The Finicky Farmer
    October 27, 2011 at 4:59 am

    In theory, I love polenta. Unfortunately, I’ve made it before and my mouth was, like, “meh.” Therefore, I’m delighted to find *your* polenta recipe, which is sure to be totally fab. Can’t wait to reintroduce myself to some mushy corn goodness!

  • Jen
    October 27, 2011 at 5:05 am

    I don’t really like cornmeal but I’ll take the cheese and sauce over pasta!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    October 27, 2011 at 5:06 am

    I’ve never tried polenta before – let alone the homemade kind! But I’ve seen it pop up in a lot of vegetarian recipes lately and now I’m curious. I love that you paired it with mushrooms and a tomato-based sauce… sounds heavenly!

  • Heidi
    October 27, 2011 at 5:06 am

    Mmmm I`ve never made polenta before…this looks amazing. Will defeinetly add some spicey sausage though!

  • Lauren @ Vaguely Vegan
    October 27, 2011 at 5:06 am

    Wow, that dish sounds like it would be complicated but you make it sound very easy! I’ve never made polenta at home before, but think I just may be able to handle this recipe. The only thing I need is a piece of Le Creuset to make it in….definitely a necessity!

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    October 27, 2011 at 5:10 am

    I’ve never made polenta either. This looks great but I am still dreaming about yesterday’s recipe, the thai red curry ‘bocha squash meal. I want to drink that sauce ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lauren @ What Lauren Likes
    October 27, 2011 at 5:31 am

    Dang! The polenta I’ve made NEVER looks like that! Haha I need to try this recipe, looks amazing!

  • Amanda
    October 27, 2011 at 5:33 am

    That sounds fantastic! I never knew polenta was so simple and delicious (I always bought the TJs tubes of it) until I roomed with a girl from Italy my senior year of college. Unlike most college students, she would cook most nights and it made our apartment smell heavenly. She also taught me how to make some of the best tomato sauce – changed my life! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sally
    October 27, 2011 at 5:34 am

    That looks so comforting and wonderful for a rainy day like today. I bet the leftovers taste even better!

  • Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count
    October 27, 2011 at 5:36 am

    That looks so good…I’ve never tried making polenta, but I should!

  • Heather M
    October 27, 2011 at 5:41 am

    I’m making this tonight. We have a local restaurant that makes polenta and mushrooms, It’s my favorite dish. I’ve wanted to try it but been “busy”. Now I don’t have an excuse.

  • Cassie @ Back to Her Roots
    October 27, 2011 at 5:43 am

    If you’ve made homemade grits before, then I’d say you’ve made homemade polenta! ๐Ÿ™‚ I consider them the same thing. ‘Round these parts, local stores even package them with labels saying, “Stoneground Grits/Polenta” just to cover their bases.

  • Liz
    October 27, 2011 at 5:59 am

    The Little House books are some of my favorites, even now…as I contemplate re-reading the series yet again (at 29 ๐Ÿ™‚ ). My favorite one is Farmer Boy, of which I own 3 different copies!

  • Clair
    October 27, 2011 at 6:08 am

    I’ve never made polenta, but having it in restaurants always inspires me too! Now that I’ve got a recipe to work with, I really need to get on it!

  • Charise
    October 27, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Know what else is really good? Pumpkin mixed into polenta, topped with black beans, manchego, and {optional} Spanish chorizo.

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
    October 27, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Oh, this looks so comforting and delicious! I love polenta, and this looks perfect!

  • Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner
    October 27, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Wow .. this looks amazing and super easy. definitely going to try it!

  • Krystina (Organically Me)
    October 27, 2011 at 7:04 am

    My grandma always made polenta with tomato sauce and fresh romano. It’s one of my ultimate comfort foods.

  • Lisa @ Life in Green
    October 27, 2011 at 7:06 am

    It’s 9am and now I’m starving! Looks great and will have to try out soon.

  • Cait's Plate
    October 27, 2011 at 7:07 am

    I’ve never even made STORE-BOUGHT polenta let alone homemade! This looks incredible as always.

  • Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning
    October 27, 2011 at 7:16 am

    What a beautiful looking meal! That made my tummy grumble (but all of your photos usually do). If I see polenta as a side on a restaurant menu, I almost always order that dish (or swap out the side on another dish for polenta) but I never, ever make it at home (except for buying to occassional polenta log to just make baked polenta chips). And I know how easy it is to make- it’s one of those things that just makes me wonder “why am I not making this at home if I love it so much?”
    You could easily make a whole meal out of it too with some veggies and protein (or the recipe you shared, obviously :))!

  • Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine
    October 27, 2011 at 7:18 am

    This looks great. I love polenta with eggs!

  • The Blue-Eyed Bakers
    October 27, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Hello lovely! That looks insane! Just what we wish we were eating on this rainy grey day…divine!

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    October 27, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Love the pic Jenna! This looks killer ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Kristen @ Chocolate Covered Kristen
    October 27, 2011 at 7:44 am

    So funny – I made polenta for the 1st time last night using Giada’s recipe! I stirred in a big handful of fontina and ate a bowl covered in TJ’s bruschetta topping for dinner. I put the rest in a loaf pan so I can cut slices and crisp it up in a skillet over the next few days. Love polenta!

  • Katrina
    October 27, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I really like this idea, but I don’t like gorgonzola. What would you suggest as a substitute??

    • jenna
      October 27, 2011 at 8:03 am

      you could try parmesan–that would be equally delicious!

  • NicoleD
    October 27, 2011 at 8:01 am

    This looks perfect for this chilly weather! Sounds like a great alternative to plain pasta and sauce for a weeknight meal. Thanks for the great recipe idea!

  • Lizz @ Leading the Good Life
    October 27, 2011 at 8:12 am

    oh yum, yum, yum! i LOVE polenta. here is my version – so good!

    Creamy Roasted Poblano Polenta

  • AshinMT
    October 27, 2011 at 8:14 am

    MMMmmm. That looks awesome and its only nine AM here.

    I love making polenta- the first time i made it was when we cooked the pioneer womans braised short ribs with goat cheese polenta, (wow) and i had a grand time wisking out the clumps.. while throwing copius amounts of goat cheese back in. YUM.

  • Lisa Fine
    October 27, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Yum! I love polenta, but often forget it as an option. Gorgonzola cheese sounds like a great addition.

    Polenta also makes a delicious breakfast – I’ll add in raisins and maple syrup and cashews or walnuts for a savory-sweet kind of breakfast.

  • Priyanka
    October 27, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Thats so yummmy super tempting dish

  • maggie
    October 27, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Random!!! My mom shows up with a log of polenta last night randomly and said she bought me one as extra….now I HAVE to make this. Emailing her this recipe………now ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Ashley
    October 27, 2011 at 8:34 am

    That looks delicious!

  • Moni'sMeals
    October 27, 2011 at 8:53 am

    You are nailing it for me this week! This sounds just amazing and I thought the Thai Dish would of solved all my problems, haha! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for this, just love gorgonzola.

  • Christine @ Oatmeal in my Bowl
    October 27, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Definitely comfort food. And I love polenta…so with the addition of gorgonzola… I’ll be in heaven. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Emmy (Wine and Butter)
    October 27, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Oh – I’m still not sure about polenta – although admittedly I have never properly TRIED it… ๐Ÿ™‚ I might go for yesterdays curry first though!
    I’m also all still v new to this whole blogging thing so I wasnt really sure how to work the trackback thing… BUT I linked to your Babaganoush soup in my post today about veggie meals boys like… it is SO good – everybody has to try it!!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    October 27, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Oh I wish I could eat this right now for lunch. It looks so perfect and comforting on this cold rainy day right now!

    • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
      October 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm

      I ended up making this tonight for dinner since it started SNOWING! Perfect comfort food, so delicious and the best part…plenty of leftovers ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lauren
    October 27, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Um, I JUST searched your blog for a polenta recipe two days ago! Thanks!

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb
    October 27, 2011 at 9:49 am

    polenta has always kind of scared me… not sure why, but it looks difficult to prepare. will have to try this recipe!

  • Ella, RD
    October 27, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Ok, I’m done. Roll me up in a wheelchair beside a lifetime supply of this, because I’m not going anywhere until I’m too old to walk.

    Seriously though – if someone doesn’t really care for gorgonzola or strong blue cheese (ahem, my husband), do you think I could still get away with feeding this to them?

  • Ashley @ Practical Cooking For One
    October 27, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I love how this recipe comes together, with very few ingredients but each with distinct and great flavors. I’m new to your website but I love your photos and recipes, there’s a lot of foodie fun ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus I think a lot of your recipes can be scaled down for one person!

  • Cat @Breakfast to Bed
    October 27, 2011 at 10:26 am

    you need to make straight up hillbilly cheese grits. it will

  • Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic
    October 27, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Yummmm I love polenta. Adding chicken sausage is a great idea. Or maybe a poached egg on top?

  • Joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    October 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    That sounds delish! I love your Little House on the Prairie obsession haha.

  • Sarah@The Flying ONION
    October 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Oh gosh. It’s snowing here right now (yes, snowing!?!) and this just looks so perfect.

  • Tammy @ Palm Trees and Manatees
    October 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Bingo! We have cornmeal in our pantry. Excited to try this! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tania
    October 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Hi Jenna, my parents are from Northern Italy and my Mom makes polenta all the time. I highly recommend a meat stew to be served with the polenta. My Mom makes an amazing venison stew (consistency similar to that of an Indian curry-ex vindaloo) that pairs well with the polenta on a cold, blustery night.

  • Hmj
    October 27, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    You can also make polenta with a combo of cream and chicken stock instead of water. Which makes it even more to die for!

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  • Angie
    October 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    I heart your recipes! And this one also looks delicious, especially with the mushrooms in my fridge just waiting to be used. Question though…can I use white cornmeal instead of yellow?

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble
    October 28, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    This looks so delicious! Plus gluten free! Yum yum yum!

  • Amber B
    October 29, 2011 at 6:19 am

    Oh this looks fabulous! I am not a mushroom fan, but I think I could accept them in order to eat this. Or just omit them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mari
    October 29, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I made this last night as a side dish for some simply prepared tilapia, and oh my goodness, the polenta side was absolutely fantastic. I may have licked my plate and gone back for seconds. I may also have had a little as a mid-morning snack today. Seriously, it might be the most delicious dish I’ve ever made. Also seriously, how good is the polenta itself?! I tasted the polenta before smothering it with all the other goodness, and I was shocked at how much more delicious it was than store bought polenta (and it was so easy!). I’m totally a homemade polenta convert now.

    The whole dish did come out soupier than I expected, so next time I think I might prepare the polenta separately and let it firm up, then sautee the mushrooms, make them into sauce with the marinara, and then combine everything (gorgonzola too, of course) on the plate. Basically separating things in order to allow a firmer polenta to appear, and skipping the baking.

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    October 31, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I have yet to try polenta prepared this way… Guess I will have to get on it after seeing this recipe. YUM!
    – Brittany

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    November 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    What’s the difference between polenta and grits?

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    November 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    jenna – just a few words of constructive criticism for your recipe. first, the mushrooms have no seasoning. i would recommend sauteing them first in a hot pan, maybe with some minced garlic, definitely with some salt and pepper. at the very least, sprinkle s&p over the mushrooms before topping them with marinara sauce. then i would cook it for only 20 minutes at 400 degrees to avoid the soupiness factor. just a thought!

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  • KC
    April 25, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I LOVE your blog…I have made this polenta recipe MANY times. I want to make this for a friend and wonder if I can prep, cover and then drop off the next day, and she can bake for the 45 minutes. Polenta is tricky which is why I am asking. All of your recipes are yummy and easy. Thank you!

    • jenna
      April 25, 2012 at 3:36 pm


      You should be able to do that! I haven’t tried making it the evening before, but I can’t see it being a problem.

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    November 9, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I am a big foodie… These pictures are totally mouth-watering ๐Ÿ™‚

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