Caramelized Cabbage on Creamy Polenta

-          1/2 teaspoon olive oil

-          3 slices of bacon

-          2 cloves garlic - minced

-          1 small sprig rosemary, chopped

-          1 green cabbage, cored and thinly shredded

-          2 teaspoons kosher/sea salt, plus more to taste

-          Freshly ground black pepper

-          About 3 tablespoons dry white wine (or water); more as needed

-          A few drop balsamic vinegar

-          1 cup medium-coarse stone ground cornmeal

-          2 ounces finely grated Asiago or Pecorino Romano cheese

1.  Cook bacon in a skillet in a wide, deep, saucepan over medium heat until there is some fat in released from the bacon.  Add in garlic, and rosemary and cook another 4 minutes.  Cook until the bacon done. 

2.   Add the cabbage to the bacon/garlic/rosemary mixture, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, pepper to taste, the wine, and 1/4 cup water; toss to coat thoroughly. Cover and cooker over medium heat for about 1 hour; check about every 5 minutes and add a little more water or white wine whenever the cabbage seems too dry or begins to brown too fast (the cabbage should stew slowly and brown lightly). After about 1 hour, uncover and cook, stirring, until the cabbage is meltingly tender, lightly caramelized, medium brown, and somewhat dry to the touch, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, taste, and adjust seasoning.

3. While the cabbage is cooking prepare the polenta. Heat the oven to 350˚F. In an oiled 3-quart nonstick ovenproof skillet, combine the cornmeal, 4 cups water, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; stir briefly. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

4.  Remove the pan from the oven, give the polenta a good stir, and return the pan to the oven to bake for another 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and half of the cheese.  Pour the polenta into a greased 9-inch heatproof dish, cover evenly with the cabbage, and scatter the remaining cheese on top. Bake until the tips of the cabbage are brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.