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White Polenta with White Mushrooms and Parmesan Cheese

Creamy, starchy, salty, crunchy, cheesy -- here's plenty of proof that plain white can be every bit as thrilling to the taste buds as it is to the eyes.

  • Yield: Makes 80 one-inch squares
White Polenta with White Mushrooms and Parmesan Cheese

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Winter 2010


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup white polenta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 8 ounces shaved for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound small white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Line a 9-inch-square baking dish with plastic, leaving overhang on two sides. Bring the water and coarse salt to a boil in a medium pan. Meanwhile, bring milk to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat.

  2. Slowly add polenta to boiling water, whisking constantly until combined. Reduce heat until only a couple large bubbles appear at a time. Whisk in 1/4 cup simmering milk; cook, stirring often, until milk is absorbed, about 30 seconds. Repeat until all milk is added and polenta is cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add grated Parmesan, stirring until melted.

  3. Immediately pour polenta into prepared baking dish; smooth top. Let stand until no longer steaming, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate, uncovered, until cold and set, about 1 1/2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 days.

  4. Prepare mushrooms just before serving: Heat olive oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, until they have softened and released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. To serve, use plastic to lift polenta from baking dish; cut into 1-inch squares. Top with sauteed mushrooms and Parmesan cheese shavings.

Cook's Note

Once cool and set, polenta can be covered and refrigerated until ready to serve, up to 2 days.

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