Herbed Polenta and Parmesan Gratin


Maria Helm Sinskey, culinary director of Robert Sinskey Vineyards in Napa Valley and author of the phenomenal cookbook The Vineyard Kitchen, created this indulgent baked polenta, made with plenty of Parmesan. It's just as good when made ahead and reheated as it is when it comes straight out of the oven.

Herbed Polenta and Parmesan Gratin
Photo: © Frances Janisch
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs


  • 1 quart milk

  • 1 quart water

  • 1 stick unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

  • 2 cups polenta, not instant (12 ounces)

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream


  1. Oil a 12-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet. In a saucepan, bring the milk, water and butter to a boil. Add the salt and rosemary. Gradually whisk in the polenta until smooth. Bring to a simmer, whisking, until thickened. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Whisk the eggs into the polenta, one at a time, then whisk in 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Spread the polenta on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.

  3. Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly butter a 15-by-10-inch baking dish. Cut the polenta into 2-inch squares. Arrange the squares in the prepared baking dish in a single layer, overlapping them slightly. Pour the cream over the polenta and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan on top. Bake for 40 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 2; refrigerate for 2 days.

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