Appetizers and Snacks, Gluten-free, Seasonal, Vegetarian, Winter

Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites

Loreto December 30, 2017

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Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites. Taking Italian tradition from the Holiday season and shrinking it down into a bite-sized, easy to eat, delicious morsels of polenta with a wonderful surprise of mushroom sauté surrounded by melted Fontina, absolutely scrumptious!

Song of the day: Feeling Good, by Michael Bublé.

Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]

Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites, perfect for the upcoming New Year’s Eve Party that is just around the corner. We are always trying to think of great recipes for appetizers that would be a wonderful experience for our guests, and I think these beautiful morsels are an answer to my quest, and maybe yours!

 

 

Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites are an example of an Italian favorite all wrapped up in a nutshell. In Northern Italy, the combination of polenta and mushrooms is one that is quite popular. The flavors compliment each other so well, and the comfort of that warm smooth cornmeal brings back so many memories of a meal that is literally shared off the same board in Italy.

To take you back a bit in time, I am taking you to Friuli where polenta is a native dish. Back in Roman time, polenta was made with different kinds of grain as corn never arrived yet from the New World.  Chestnut flour was used to make polenta, followed by millet, farro, or chickpeas, then as corn made its way in, cornmeal was made and used. Peasants would have polenta with pickled herring or anchovy. These days it is considered a posh food and chefs are using it quite a bit in combinations with meat, vegetables, and cheese. I remember having it with a wonderful tomato sauce and sausages. The polenta was put on a dish and topped with a tomato sauce that had been stewing for hours. So rich was that sauce, with a deeply delicious and substantial pulp, so so good, not to mention those incredibly flavorful sausages that cooked for hours in the sauce, infused so intensely with the richness of the tomatoes. I don’t know about you but to me those sausages were heaven.

When I met Nicoletta she shared a story of how they would serve polenta at her grandparents’, and I was so pleased to hear that they would put it on a large wooden board and topped it with tomato sauce or sugo as we call it, and sometimes sausages, Nicoletta’s family would sit around the table and each with a fork of their own would dive in and take a forkful. This to me signifies eating as a true bonding family, sharing food in a most intimate way. That story touched my heart so deeply, and that vision and its energy I have brought into this recipe.

When I was thinking about some recipe ideas for The Italian Centre Shop, I kept having this vision of a polenta pop. I thought to myself can’t just make a polenta pop without putting something in the middle to tantalize the taste buds a bit. The thought of mushrooms was the first to enter my mind and then I needed a binding agent and nothing brings things together better than melted cheese. Fontina was my cheese of choice. The funny thing is that when I tried to make the polenta pop it wasn’t working for me. This is a real challenge as I always want to succeed and believe in the inspirations that come to me, but sometimes they just don’t work and an alternative had to come into play if I wanted to salvage my vision. So pulling up my bootstraps,  I decided polenta bites are the way to go. They will be good especially with a nice filling of sauteed mushrooms, and some of that delicious melted fontina cheese. The only thing to worry about is will it work? You already know the answer to that because the pictures speak a thousand words and they turned out wonderful if I do say so myself.

Let’s find out how these Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites are made!

Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites

So from The Italian Centre Shop, we picked up the cornmeal, some whipping cream, beautiful Crimini mushrooms, garlic, and some onion, and some Fontina. With the polenta done and the mushrooms sauteed in herbs, olive oil and white wine, and that white truffle oil making it all fragrant. The Fontina is grated and it is time to put these Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites together!

Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites

There is nothing scarier than going in blind to do something that you have never done before. I am a true improvisationalist, and so I am one to just go with it, and see what happens, and you know I think they turned out so fine. I scooped some polenta in my hand the size of my palm, I sprinkled some Fontina, then a scoop of mushroom and topped it with more fontina, then slowly and with gentleness started folding the outer perimeter into the center covering the filling and pressing the polenta into a nice round and then coating it in some fine Italian bread crumbs. They look wonderful and I am proud and happy that my vision, somewhat changed a bit, is coming to life and yet with another twist.

Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites

These are going to be so so good, can’t wait to fry these babies up!

Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites

There was another problem when I tried frying, they kind of fell apart. Somewhat devastated, Nicoletta came to my aid and suggested baking them, saying they would be more healthy that way, and still delicious. She is always right and baking them proved to be a great way to achieve that crispy crunchy shell and melt that Fontina into those juicy mushrooms. The vision is still alive!

Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites

The texture is wonderful, crunchy with that cheese oozing out wherever it may and those soft succulent mushrooms so fragrant and plump. I just have to have a taste.

Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites

Oh, these are so good. They hold together so well and when you bite in that nutty corn flavor from the roasted cornmeal hits your tongue, yum! The melted fontina just cradles the texture so well giving way to the mushrooms and those hints of thyme, rosemary that play with my taste buds, so enticingly. I love the backdrop of white wine and the end finishes with a nice touch of white truffle oil with that sweet earthiness that it possesses. The melted Fontina with its buttery rich flavor just puts the icing on the cake.

These bites are a  great way to reiterate the wonder of beautifully grown things and how to showcase them. A new year is coming and we are always talking of things that we would like to achieve in the New Year, there is plenty of time to do that, so let’s just slow down, have a wonderful celebration of the year that has passed and the year that is coming. Grab one of these Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites and be grateful for the simple things in life!

Wishing you an incredible New Year and a very successful New Year’s Eve party!

Cheers from:

Loreto and Nicoletta

The Duo behind Sugarlovespices!

Enjoy!

Song of the day: Feeling Good, by Michael Bublé.

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Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites

Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites

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  • Author: Loreto
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minute
  • Yield: 11 polenta bites
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites. Taking Italian tradition from the Holiday season and shrinking it down into a bite-sized, easy to eat, delicious morsels of polenta with a wonderful surprise of sautéd mushrooms surrounded by melted Fontina, absolutely scrumptious!


Ingredients

Polenta:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (or milk, or half and half)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups cornmeal

Filling:

  • 10 Crimini mushrooms chopped fine
  • 2 green onion stalks chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/8 cup white wine
  • 3 drops white truffle oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Fontina cheese

Coating:

  • 1 cup fine Italian style bread crumbs

Instructions

Polenta:
1. In a medium pot pour in water, olive oil, cream, and throw in parsley, dried thyme, and salt.
2. When the mixture starts to simmer and little bubbles appear around the edges slowly start to sprinkle in cornmeal a little at a time continually stirring with a whisk until all the cornmeal is in.
3. Once the cornmeal starts to thicken take a wooden spoon and stir constantly.
4. Cook until polenta starts to come away from the sides of the pot approx. 20 minutes, remove from heat and let cool.
Filling:
1. In a sauté pan pour in olive oil and bring to a medium heat.
2. Toss in green onion and garlic and sauté for about 1 minute or until onion softens.
3. Toss in mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, then toss in thyme, rosemary, and cook for another couple of minutes.
4. Pour in white wine, and cook until all wine has dissipated about 2-3minutes, then finish with drops of white truffle oil take off heat and let cool.
Assembly:
1. Take a tablespoon of the polenta and flatten it into a circle the size of your palm.
2. Sprinkle with a bit of grated Fontina cheese, and place 1 tsp of the mushroom mixture on top.
3. Finish with some more grated fontina then slowly fold the outside perimeter into the center covering the cheese and mushroom mixture.
4. When filling is covered form polenta into a ball pressing firmly to ensure polenta is nice and firm around filling.
5. Place ball into bowl of bread crumbs and roll until well coated, then place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
6. When all the polenta bites are formed and breaded, pre-heat oven to 400° F (200° C).
7. Place baking sheet with polenta bites into oven and bake for 20 minutes or until surface turns a nice golden brown.
8. Take out of oven and plate. Ready to serve. Enjoy!

Notes

The cook time includes the cooking time for the polenta, the mushrooms, and the final baking of the polenta bites.

Fontina Mushroom Stuffed Polenta Bites

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]

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28 Comments

  • Reply Milena Perrine December 30, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Great year of recipes you guys and such a delicious finish! I love polenta, growing up in my extended family the traditional way was to serve it topped with butter fried eggs and sprinkled with some feta crumbs and paprika. It is a very homey dish indeed, so versatile as you point out. The mushrooms and Fontina stuffing in these intensely golden bites is calling my name! Such a healthy option too. Cheers!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 31, 2017 at 7:22 am

      Thank you Milena, wow that fried egg and feta crumble with some paprika sounds so delicious especially on top of polenta. This sounds like something right up my alley. I hope you get to make these polenta bites, that filling was so luscious and good and I love when polenta crisps up. It adds such a wonderful texture to the mix!
      Wishing you an amazing New Year!
      Cheers!
      Loreto and Nicoletta

  • Reply Gloria Duggan January 1, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    I would eat ALL of these. What a great side dish…and they make the perfect party app too.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto January 2, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      Hi Gloria, I agree they are so easy to eat and so flavorful and full of texture. Toasted cornmeal and the fact that they were breaded also gives them such a nice crunchy surface, then the smoothness of the polenta and those sauteed mushrooms come in and where out of this world good. Thank you for commenting.
      Happy New Year!
      Cheers!
      loreto

  • Reply Jessica Robinson January 1, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    These would be perfect as a side dish or an appetizer! You had me at mushrooms and fontina cheese!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto January 2, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Jessica, I know I am a mushroom lover and just the scent of them has me salivating. Accompany that with some white truffle oil and Fontina, plus all that food love and it is a match made in heaven! Thank you for stopping by and checking these beauties out.
      Happy New Year!
      Cheers!
      loreto

  • Reply Laineey January 2, 2018 at 11:16 am

    These polenta bites look so delicious! Hubby ate polenta like Nicoletta but I had never had it that way before. I love finding new ways to eat polenta and your recipe looks absolutely divine!! I can’t wait to try it!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto January 2, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      Thank you Laineey, I agree that is the joy of cooking, learning about each other and sharing wonderful stories over a table of delicious food. I was quite please with these polenta bites even though I had some difficulties in the beginning. The end result was good and it proves when you donot succeed the first time, try and try again! Thank you for the wonderful comment.
      Happy New Year!
      Cheers!
      loreto

  • Reply Helene January 5, 2018 at 5:34 am

    Alright this looks amazing! So I was looking for new polenta ideas and besides polenta porridge, polenta layered casserole and polenta squares I was getting out of ideas. I love the taste of comforting polenta, especially with tomato. Unfortunately I could not get my Indian husband to like polenta but I have a bag full at home and I so want to be able to use it so that he enjoys it too. I will try your stuffed polenta bites and let’s try to convert him. 🙂

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto January 7, 2018 at 10:55 am

      I would like to think that these Polenta bites would convert your husband into a polenta lover, and I think we have a pretty good chance as they are a kind of pakora lets say. crispy with lots of veggie. I would love to hear how you made out, I am so curious now. I love polenta with a rich tomato sauce, I can honestly say I can only eat a small portions, but like they say a little dab will do ya.
      Good luck and thank you for your comment!
      Happy cooking!
      Loreto

  • Reply Dominique| Perchance to Cook January 5, 2018 at 9:20 am

    These look wonderful!! I love using polenta in this fashion and I’ll have to make these for my family because we are all big polenta lovers. Thanks for sharing!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto January 7, 2018 at 10:36 am

      Hi Dominique, polenta is such a wonderful food to experience, the various ways to use it and the varying textures that can be achieved with it are amazing. I was quite pleased after a few attempts to bring this vision I had to life. I have to say I am quite pleased and proud. The comfort of this appetizer in such a small package is wonderful and then the surprise of flavour and deliciousness is like icing on the cake. I also love when an appetizer is easy to eat, and these fit the bill perfectly, handheld and bite size! Grazie mille for the wonderful comment and a huge Happy polenta making to you!
      Cheers!
      loreto

  • Reply Abby January 6, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    That cheese, though! I love how unique this recipe is.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto January 7, 2018 at 10:16 am

      Thank you Abby, We really try to push the envelope when it comes to creativity, and its is so good when it pays off in a delicious way! The first vision was that of an appetizer pop, then having difficulties changed it up a bit to create these bites which turned out to be more than I had expected. I think the key to creating is to free flow and stay open to anything that comes to mind. That Fontina cheese along with the mushrooms all surrounded by that crispy corn flavoured crust was absolutely smashing! Grazie mille for commenting, much appreciated!
      Have a wonderful day!
      Cheers!
      loreto

  • Reply Amanda Mason January 7, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    These looks beyond amazing!!! I’ve never made polenta or attempted to but these sound great with all the other ingredients! And I LOVE that this recipe contain wine! YEAH! And the truffle oil and cheese…looks and sounds amazing! I’ll have to give these a try!!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto January 8, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      The only advice that I would give if you have never made polenta is warm up those arms, it is a continuous stiring and when it thickens you need some muscle to come through. The end product is so worth the work though. Yes the wine and truffle oil add such subtle flavors to the filling, and a great compliment to the polenta!
      Thanks a million for your wonderful comment and Happy polenta making!
      Loreto out!

  • Reply Kate January 7, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Wow, do these look and sound good! I love everything about them. I woud love to serve them at a dinner party or just make them for myself!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto January 8, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      I think either way you serve them they are going to be a hit. I tried some with a bit of homemade plum jam and it was pretty incredible! Thank you for your kind words, and have a great day!
      Cheers!
      loreto

  • Reply prasanna hede January 7, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    This looks so amazing! Never made polenta at home but this one is on my list now,specially after looking at the ingredients white wine,truffle oil and cheese!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto January 8, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Prasanna, yes these little morsels house some pretty incredible flavors and textures, and the mushroom and polenta are a match made in heaven!
      Thanks a bunch and Happy cooking!
      loreto

  • Reply Christine January 8, 2018 at 7:44 am

    These look SO good! Love fontina and mushrooms, so I can only imagine that these bites would be perfect 😉 Definitely saving for our next gathering!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto January 8, 2018 at 3:01 pm

      Thank you Christine, I was so pleased with these appetizers and love the way the handle and are so easy to eat. The fact that they are super delicious is just a bonus! Can’t waite for you to try these!.
      Have a super day!
      Ciao Loreto

  • Reply EL Çitra Kale January 8, 2018 at 11:21 am

    İ always look for new idea cooking with polenta… and this is absolutely great recipe to try… perfect for finger snack. thx for sharing

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto January 8, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      You are so welcome, I think you are going to really eenjoy these. Would love to hear how you make out.
      Thanks for commenting and have a wonderful day!
      Cheers!
      Loreto

  • Reply Monica January 8, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Oh my gosh, you’ve outdone yourself – these look and sound fantastic! I just love using fontina – it melts so beautifully – but would have never thought to try it in this way. I bet it goes beautifully with the herbs and truffle oil!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto January 10, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      Hi Monica isn’t creativity wonderful and the best part the way it inspires all us foodies to be even more creative. These were such a hit. They have made it to the top 10 appetizer list. Thank you for your most kind comment and I hope you truly get to try these!
      Happy cooking
      Cheers!
      Loreto

  • Reply The Simple, Sweet Life January 8, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    These sound amazing! I’ve only ever made polenta a couple of times, and certainly nothing so fancy as this. But we’ll pretty much eat anything with crimini mushrooms in this house so I’m sure these will be a hit. Can’t wait to try them!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto January 10, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Claire you are so kind. Polenta on its own is wonderful especially with a nice rich tomato sauce and some good quailty parmigiano reggiano, but the combination of the polenta and the crimini mushrooms is fantastic. I love the crust on the polenta with that bread coating and the nuttiness! Thank you for taking time to check this out.
      Have a wonderful day!
      Cheers!
      Loreto

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