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Polenta Crostini Recipes
Polenta Crostini with Mushrooms
RECIPES
Polenta Crostini with Mushrooms
Polenta Crostini alla Pizzaiola
Double Cheese Polenta Gratin with Rosemary
Polenta crostini are made by spreading cooked polenta into a thin layer, allowing it to cool, and then cutting the polenta into pieces.  Crostini can then be baked, broiled, grilled, or deep fried.  Use polenta crostini as a base for appetizers, part of an antipasto, or layered with other ingredients as a main course or side dish.
Polenta Crostini with Mushrooms

(Serves 4 to 6 as a main course)

This dish may be served as an appetizer, part of an antipasto, as a main course, or as a side dish with meat or poultry.

Ingredients:

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound fresh mushrooms, (any variety) sliced
3 plum tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 recipe Basic Polenta, cooked and spread into a flat rectangle, cooled
Olive oil

Directions:

Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in warm water about 30 minutes to soften.
Remove the mushrooms from the liquid, chop them coarsely and set aside.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion over low heat, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and all of the mushrooms.  Cook 20-25 minutes until tender.

Add the tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper, and cook another 5 minutes. Cut the polenta into 2 x 4-inch slices and brush each piece with olive oil.  Broil them until lightly browned and crisp on both sides.  Place polenta crostini on a plate and top with hot mushroom mixture.

VARIATION:
Cook the Basic Polenta and serve it immediately as a mound on each plate with the hot mushroom mixture over the top.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
Polenta Crostini with Mushrooms
Polenta Crostini alla Pizzaiola

(Serves 8-10 as an appetizer)

Ingredients:

3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 recipe Basic Polenta, cooked, spread into a flat rectangle, cooled
Olive oil
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

Directions:

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the garlic in olive oil, just until it begins to brown.  Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Cook uncovered 8-10 minutes or until there is little juice remaining in the skillet.  Stir in the basil.

Preheat the broiler.
Cut the polenta into 2-inch squares and brush them lightly with olive oil.  Place the polenta squares on a baking sheet. Cut the mozzarella cheese to the same size as the polenta and place a slice on each.  Place a tablespoon of the tomato mixture on each and drizzle with a little olive oil. Broil until the mozzarella is golden and melting, about 5 minutes.  Serve warm.
Double Cheese Polenta Gratin with Rosemary

(Serves 4)

This dish can be assembled ahead of time and baked when needed.

Ingredients:

1 recipe Basic Polenta
1-1/2 cups grated Fontina cheese, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 cups Traditional Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary, divided
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese
Chopped parsley

Directions:

Follow the recipe for making Basic Polenta.
During the last few minutes of cooking, stir in 1/2 of the Fontina cheese and
2 tablespoons butter.  Remove from heat and spread the polenta about 1/2-inch thick on a clean surface.  Allow to cool completely.  Cut into squares, rectangles, or rounds - the exact size doesn't matter.

In a saucepan, heat the tomato sauce with half of the rosemary.
Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Spread half of the tomato sauce in a baking dish.  Place the pieces of polenta over the sauce, overlapping them to fit.
Top with the remaining Fontina cheese.  Spoon the remaining tomato sauce in bands over the polenta, leaving the edges exposed.  Crumble the Gorgonzola over the top and sprinkle with remaining rosemary.  Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.  Garnish with parsley and serve.
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HOW TO COOK POLENTA >  POLENTA RECIPES
COOKING ONIONS
Sauteing onions until soft, 5 to 10 minutes, is the first step in many recipes.  The reason is that softened onions add body and sweetness.  Browning onions, 10 to 15 minutes, gives the onions a deeper flavor that makes them great with sauteed greens or in a savory tart.  Lowering the heat and cooking the onions for 30 minutes or more will caramelize them.  Longer cooking brings out the onion's sweet side. Caramelized onions are nice on pizza or in pasta.
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