I LOVE Polenta. Sort of corn bread, but instead of the bread texture, it comes out sweet, creamy and closer to a pudding with hints of bread.
By itself, it is similar to grits. That is very little taste, but is wonderful to flavor. This particular dish is a perfect example. After the polenta is made in a skillet (that bread pudding consistency), the polenta is then baked to add a crunchy top texture. Then comes the flavors, grilled onions, pine nuts, mushrooms and a cheesy Mascarpone sauce. All made pretty by layering like a sandwich and extra fresh Thyme added for a garnish.
This would be a Primo Course on an Italian table. Soups, Salads, Pasta, Rice, Risotto and as here, polenta are the usual suspects for the course following the Antipasto and before the Meat (Secondo) and vegetables (Contorni) course.
But that's at a formal 5 course Italian meal. I made these as a sandwich for a soup and sandwich lunch (more on that later)...
Layered Mushroom, Marscarpone and
- 3/4 Cup Uncooked Polenta (cooked according to directions on the box)
- 1 Medium Red Onion, Cut into rings
- 4 TBS Butter
- 1 Cup Mushrooms, diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 TBS Fresh Thyme, chopped
- 8 oz Marscarpone Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 1 Pinch Nutmeg
- ADD SALT AND PEPPERT TO TASTE
- OK, start with the cooked polenta while it is still soft and somewhat pour-able. Move this to a jellyroll pan and flatten to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Now allow it to set (about an hour and a half at least).
- Cut the polenta into squares (or use cookie cutters for any appropriate design for any holiday).
- Place the squares under a broiler for 5 minutes, until they just begin to toast, flip them over and repeat for only 3 minutes. Keep an eye on them, they go from toasted to burnt pretty quick.
- While the polenta is baking, start the toppings and sauce.
- in a large saute pan, over medium high heat, melt the butter until just before it starts to brown.
- Add the onions and saute until soft and just starting to turn color.
- Add the garlic and saute for a minute more.
- Add the mushrooms, thyme and pine nuts and continue to saute for 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a seperate small saute pan, over medium low heat, warm the milk to just at simmer stage.
- Add the Mascarpone cheese and whisk until combined. Continue to whisk until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
- Add the nutmeg and whisk until mixed and remove from heat.
- OK, now just layer and serve... A polenta square on the bottom, @a TBS of mushroom/onions in the middle, a TBS of Cheese sauce, another square of polenta, another TBS of Mushroom/onions and topped with more cheese, garnished with some more fresh thyme leaves.
- Serve WARM and ENJOY!!!
So, Cin Cin indeed as I add "authentic" Layered Mushroom, Marscarpone and Polenta Bake (Polenta Concia) to my "52 Authentic Italian Recipes".
And as always, if you like this recipe and think you might want to give it a try, pin this to your Pinterest Board and be sure to follow me on Pinterest if you want to see the rest of my 52 Ideas!