Asparagus and Pancetta over Polenta


This is the ultimate spring comfort food, green garlic, asparagus atop a creamy bowl of polenta.

2/3 c mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
4 oz pancetta, diced
2 – 3 green garlic, sliced thin
1 1/2 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed
1 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 c milk
3 cups water
2 cups instant polenta
1/2 c Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shards

In a small bowl whisk together Mascarpone and zest.

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 3 cups of the milk and the water to a boil and add the 1 tsp. salt. Whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking occasionally, until the polenta is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes.

In a large skillet cook pancetta and green garlic over medium heat until the pancetta starts to crisp up. Add asparagus, cover and cook for 3 minutes until crispy tender.

Whisk the remaining 1 cup milk into the polenta in the saucepan and cook until just heated, about 30 seconds. Divide the polenta among shallow bowls and top with the asparagus mixture.

Spoon the mascarpone mixture over the asparagus, sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.

Serves 4; makes two 9-inch polenta rounds.