Crostini di Polenta con un Misto di Funghi

(Polenta Crostini with a Mixture of Mushrooms)

The Artisan espouses classical cooking and techniques.  That does not mean that we do not use modern appliances or occasionally cook a dish in a manner unknown to Italian cooks of old. We needed to prepare 20 crostini for a dinner party and were pressed for time.  Consequently, we cooked the polenta  in the microwave rather than in a copper polenta pot.  While these methods are not equivalent, the microwave version worked very well.  In fact, posting this recipe is the result of a number of our guests requesting it. We decided that putting it on The Artisan was a way to share it with everyone.  Of course, the polenta can be made any way you choose!


1 Cup Polenta - Dry  (polenta is coarse ground corn meal)
2 Tbl. Olive oil - Extra Virgin
3 Cups Water
3 Tbl. Onion - Red: diced
1/2 Cup Mushrooms - Crimini: diced
1/2 Cup Mushrooms - Oyster: diced
1/2 Cup Mushrooms - Porcini: dry and soaked in water for 30 min, drained and chopped
1/4 Cup Wine - Red
1/8 Lb. Cheese -  Blue Costello or Mild Gorgonzola
1/2 Cup Parsley - Chopped into very small pieces
3 Tbl. Olive oil - Extra virgin


Oil a 9 x 14 inch shallow cookie pan (the sides should be abut 1/2 inch high) and set it aside while the polenta cooks.

Put the polenta into a two quart glass casserole.    Add the 2 Tbl. of olive oil and mix until all of the corm meal (polenta) is coated with oil.  Microwave on high for 45 seconds.  At the end of this time add, the  three cups of water and  microwave on high for 4 minutes.  Stir to remove any lumps which may have formed -- there should be very few. Microwave an additional 3 minutes on high.  By now the polenta should be thick   and creamy.  If not, microwave for an additional 2 minutes.   Add the basil, the onion, salt and pepper to taste and mix well.   Microwave for another 3 minutes on high.  By now the polenta should be a thick porridge. If not, cook another 2-3 minutes on high.

At this point, pour the polenta into the oiled cookie sheet and spread it over the pan in an even layer as possible.  A spatula does a good job of this.  Salt the top lightly, and allow to cool completely before going on to the next step. If not using within 2-3 hours,  the polenta can be stored in the refrigerator overnight.


While the polenta is cooling, prepare the topping.  Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a fry pan, then add the onions.   Saute until they wilt, then add  all of the mushrooms.  Saute for 5 minutes on high, or until the mushrooms release their water.  Add 1/2 cup of red wine, and turn the heat to high.  Saute until all of the liquid has evaporated.   Continue to cook the mixture for another minute,  stirring continuously,   being careful not to let the mushroom mixture stick to to the pan and burn.   Remove from the heat.


Remove the polenta from the pan by turning it onto a cutting board.  Cut it into as many pieces as desired.  the exact size depends upon the appetites of those being served.    A good size is about 2 inches by 4 inches.

Place the polenta pieces on a rack and place them in the broiler.  Cook it on each side for about 3-4 minutes or until they either begins to crust or brown.  Remove the crostini from the oven and place a couple of heaping tablespoons of the mushroom mixture on each crostini.  Return to the broiler for another minute.  Remove and place a piece of  Blue Costello or Gorgonzola cheese on each one.  Return to the broiler for another 30-45 seconds, or until the cheese begins to melt.  Remove from the broiler,  and sprinkle each one with a bit of olive oil.   Garnish each crostini with a sprinkling of the chopped parsley.  Serve warm.

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Last updated on:06/03/99 12:51:36 AM