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poaching Italian
Polenta With Italian Cheese, Poached Eggs, and Prosciutto

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Every cuisine has its comfort foods, and a bowl of steaming polenta has got to be high on the comfort scale in Italian cuisine. Mixed with an aromatic creamy cheese like northern Italy’s Brescianella and topped with a soft egg, the polenta becomes the foundation for a gourmet brunch dish or a unique and wonderful dinner. This is pure, unadulterated comfort food in any language.

Yield: Serves 4


  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 4 ounces Brescianella cheese, rind removed, coarsely chopped (or use Taleggio, Reblochon, or other washed-rind cheese; or use mozzarella)
  • 1¼ teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (or use ½ teaspoon dried and crumbled)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 paper-thin slices (about 2 ounces) of prosciutto
  • Freshly ground pepper


Have 4 shallow serving bowls ready.

To make the polenta: In a saucepan, combine the chicken stock, water, and salt, and bring to a boil. Add the polenta in a steady stream, stir once or twice, cover, and turn heat to simmer. Let cook until all the liquid has been absorbed by the polenta, about 10 minutes. Add the cheese and rosemary and stir just until the cheese has mostly melted. Keep covered over very low heat.

Meanwhile, poach the eggs. Place a small container, such as a metal measuring cup next to the stove. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring about 1 quart water to a boil. Break each egg into the measuring cup and gently pour the egg into the water. Repeat with remaining eggs. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, depending how you like your egg yolks. For a runny yolk, cook just 4 minutes. For a hard-cooked egg, cook about 6 minutes.

Working quickly, ladle the polenta into the bottom of each bowl. Using a slotted spoon, scoop up an egg and place it in the middle of the polenta. Drape a piece of prosciutto on the side of the egg, sprinkle with black pepper, and serve right away.

© 2007 Laura Werlin

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

348kcal (17%)
183mg (18%)
0mg (0%)
121mcg RAE (4%)
244mg (81%)
1252mg (52%)
6g (31%)
15g (24%)
3mg (14%)

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  • garrett1

    02.19.11 Flag comment

    This is a really nice recipe. I substituted mozzarella, but would definitely stay with fresh rosemary.
    i live in a very wintry city and eating a bowl of steamy polenta with eggs, proscuitto and rosemary while watching the snow blow around outside definitely gives meaning to the words "comfort food"!


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