Polenta is a magical dish that conveys the northern Italian spirit of Lombardy and Venice. Some like it creamy and light, others prefer it thick and buttery, or topped with decent amount of shredded cheese. And today, we are proposing it in a crunchy version, covered with smooth bechamel sauce with mushroom twist, and topped with ragout from buttery oyster mushrooms, and sage chips. It may sound like a dish that is almost impossible to prepare, but we assure you, it’s not that hard. It takes about an hour to prepare this savoury dish.
As we’ve mentioned, it takes about 50 minutes (+ 2 hours in the refrigerator) and the following products for four servings of crispy polenta with mushroom bechamel.
Products for the polenta:
200 g polenta
300 ml vegetable broth
300 ml milk harmonica
6-7 sage leaves
Products for the bechamel sauce with porchini mushrooms:
600 ml milk
20 g flour
Products for the
500 g oyster mushrooms
salt and pepper
Boil the polenta with the vegetable broth and milk on low heat until it absorbs everything and softens completely. If it is not soft enough, add more water. The trick is to allow the polenta to swell and become fully cooked. Add the yellow cheese and salt to the cooked creamy porridge. Mix well and pour into a rectangular baking tray covered with parchment paper. Allow the polenta to cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Soak the crushed mushrooms in warm milk to soak and soften. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a casserole and pour the flour into it. Stir constantly so it doesn’t burn. The next step is to mix the mushrooms soaked in milk, with the flour and butter. Add the fresh milk with the mushrooms to the butter and flour in a thin stream. To make it smooth, add the milk in small portions and stir until the amount is completely absorbed before adding a new portion of the milk and mushrooms. Cook and stir the sauce until it thickens. Finish by adding the grated yellow cheese and salt. Stir and remove from the heat.
Clean and cut the oyster mushrooms. Stew the pieces in butter in a pan with a lid. When they are ready, remove the lid to let the pieces caramelize.
It’s not only about the taste, but also the presentation. Here is how we suggest to plate it to impress everyone on the table.
Cut the polenta into triangles. Heat some oil in a pan and add 6-7 leaves of fresh sage. Place the polenta and let it catch a light tan on both sides. Arrange the polenta pieces on a plate. Pour the bechamel sauce and on top add the oyster mushroom ragout. Sprinkle this masterpieces with crushed crispy sage leaves.