Recipes from An Epicurious Lifestyle's kitchen

Polenta Torta

We have this fabulous Italian Restaurant here in Santa Cruz, called Ristorante Avanti. We always order the Polenta Torta as an appetizer.  Here I have re-created it and Peter says it’s just as good!

Polenta Torta

  1. Make Bolognese sauce
  2. Make Polenta
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  4. Assemble Torta: Cut three different large squares all the same size, out of cooled polenta. Place 1 polenta square onto sheet pan then about a ¼ cup of gorgonzola cheese, a little sauce and place the polenta square on top, continue until you have three layers. The last layer sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  5. Place in preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes or until all the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Bolognese Sauce…this one comes from Mario Balti.

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta or slab bacon, ground by butcher or thinly sliced and pulsed in food processor until finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 pound ground pork (not lean)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Cook onions, celery, carrot, and garlic in oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add pancetta, veal, and pork and cook over moderately high heat, stirring and breaking up lumps, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, milk, wine, water, and thyme and gently simmer, covered, until sauce is thickened, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Sauce may be made 2 days ahead and cooled, uncovered, before chilling, covered. Frozen, it keeps for 1 month. Read more


1 tablespoon of butter

4 cups of milk

1 cup of polenta

1/4 cup of gorgonzola cheese


In a large pot melt butter then add the milk and polenta. The polenta will spit while cooking so, make sure your pot is big! Add the gorgonzola cheese and keep stirring. Do not leave the polenta at this point…just keep stirring until it looks thick and creamy. Spread evenly onto a sheet pan to cool completely. Set aside.

Peter’s Wine Pick: 2009, Tormaresca Puglia, Neprica this is a blend of Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon

~Happy Cooking!

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