2 ½ cups milk
2 cups water
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
1 cup polenta
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup ricotta
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 bunch asparagus, shaved diagonally into thin slices
1. In a heavy saucepan, bring water and milk to a boil over high heat. Add salt and pepper, reduce heat to medium. Add the polenta gradually, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk for 5 minutes as the mixture bubbles. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to come away from the sides of the pan, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and butter, stir to combine thoroughly.
2. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Spread the polenta out with a spatula into a smooth, even layer. Cover the polenta with another sheet of parchment paper. Place another baking sheet on top of the parchment. With 2 hands, press down evenly on the top baking sheet until the polenta is 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
3. Preheat the broiler. Cut the polenta into desired shape; round, triangle or square. Transfer the pieces to a broiler pan and sprinkle the remaining Parmesean cheese on top. Place under the broiler about 3 inches from the heat source and broil until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.
4. Make the topping – add the ricotta, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt & pepper to a small bowl. Mix until combined. Lay the asparagus spears on a cutting board and use a vegetable peeler to shave off thin ribbons.
To assemble – top each polenta round with a good dollop of the ricotta mixture. Garnish with lemon zest if desired.