Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Rosemary’s Layered Tuscan Polenta

This is an entry which I recently submitted into a competition run by 'To Tuscany Villas' and was so pleased to receive one of the runner up prizes of a bottle of authentic Tuscan olive oil and a beautiful recipe book. I will be trying out some of the recipes in the coming weeks and will be sure to review them on this blog. The picture below shows the bottle of olive oil I received:

"I want to win a week in a Tuscany villa!" so I have entered one of our favourite family recipes. The dish looks impressive but in reality is simple to prepare and has a great robust flavour. Both the mushroom and tomato/pepper based layers have an intense taste which compliments perfectly the creamy polenta and the crisp ciabatta slices. As a variation of the dish we sometimes add chopped olives or use more exotic mushrooms. A little parmesan can also be added to the polenta or try adding a different combination of herbs.

Serves 2


For the polenta discs:
375ml water
375ml milk
140g polenta
25g walnuts finely chopped
1 tbs fresh rosemary coarsely chopped
½ tsp salt

For the mushroom layer:
150g flat mushrooms thinly sliced
1 clove garlic finely chopped
2 shallots, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
1tbs olive oil

For the pepper layer:
1 small red pepper thinly sliced
1 red onion thinly sliced
2 large plum tomatoes roughly chopped
1 generous tbs fresh chopped oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1tbs olive oil
1tsp sun dried tomato paste

Other ingredients:
6-8 cherry tomatoes
Fresh baby basil leaves for garnish
25g Parmesan finely shaved
Small ciabatta loaf


In a large saucepan bring water and milk to the boil, stir in the salt.
While stirring with a wooden spoon, trickle the polenta into the boiling liquid in a steady stream and continue stirring until the mixture has thickened.
Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
While polenta is simmering, lightly sauté rosemary and walnuts in 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
When polenta has simmered for 20 minutes, stir in the rosemary and walnuts and pour the mixture into a lightly greased shallow roasting pan. Cool and then chill for approximately 1 hour until set.

While polenta is cooling, prepare fillings:
Heat olive oil in a small pan and add garlic and shallots. Cook gently over a low heat for 15 minutes until shallots are soft and nicely browned.

Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook over a low heat for another 10 minutes. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Whilst the mushroom mix is cooking heat olive oil in a separate small saucepan and add the sliced red onion. Cook over a gentle heat until beginning to soften. Next add the peppers, sun dried tomato paste, plum tomatoes, oregano, salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer the mix gently for approximately 15 minutes until mixture is reduced and intensely flavoured.

Whilst both fillings are simmering drizzle cherry tomatoes with good quality olive oil and place under a low grill until soft but not brown.

Using a 2½- 3 inch cutter press out 6 polenta circles. Lightly toast the polenta circles on both sides under grill until golden brown.

Place a polenta circle on each serving plate. Add a layer of the tomato and pepper mix to each circle. Then add another polenta layer and top with the mushroom mix. Finally add the third polenta circle and top with the grilled cherry tomatoes. Garnish the cherry tomatoes with shaved parmesan and basil leaves. Drizzle a little olive oil across the polenta dish and around the plate.

Serve this dish with freshly cut ciabatta slices. First rub the slices with a garlic clove, lightly toast and drizzle with a little olive oil.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your runner-up prize Rosemary! This recipe looks fab and I'll have to give it a go!