Fontina is fine here, but if you can splurge on truffled cheese, you won't regret it.
Sunset DECEMBER 2010
1. Bring 7 1/2 cups water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add 1 1/2 tbsp. salt and the bay leaves. Whisking constantly, gradually add polenta. Reduce heat to medium and cook, whisking often, until mixture begins to thicken, then adjust heat to maintain a gentle bubble. Cook, stirring occasionally with a sturdy rubber spatula and scraping pot, until polenta is thick and creamy and grains are softened, 30 to 45 minutes. If it becomes too stiff to stir easily, add a little boiling water.
2. Melt 3 tbsp. butter in a medium nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and pale golden, about 20 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 375°. Remove bay leaves from polenta. Stir in onions and season with salt to taste.
4. Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-in. baking dish generously. Pour one-third of polenta into dish, spreading evenly. Top with half of truffled cheese. Add another one-third of polenta, then remaining truffled cheese. Dollop remaining polenta on top and spread evenly. Sprinkle with parmesan and dot with remaining 1 tbsp. butter.
5. Bake torta until medium brown, bubbling on the edges, and hot to the touch, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool, then chill until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
6. Cut torta into small rectangles (about 1 1/2 by 2 in.) and transfer to a baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from heat until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes.
Make ahead: Through step 5. Cover with plastic wrap and chill several hours or overnight.
Note: Nutritional analysis is per piece.
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