Fratelli Perata Winery

Fried Polenta with Proscuitto, Porcini and Marsala

Adapted from Biba's Taste of Italy by Biba Caggiano

1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup shallots, or yellow onion, or yellow onion and some garlic, finely minced
1 TB Italian parsley
2 oz. thick sliced procuitto, diced
1/2 cup dry Marsala
1 TB unsalted butter
Polenta cut into 4 by 5 inch pieces (recipe below)

Rinse the porcini in a sieve under cold water then soak in 2 cups lukewarm water for about 20 minutes. Pour off the liquid then rinse the porcini again (you want to make sure to get rid of the sand and grit). If the porcini are very large, chop them slightly.

Saute the shallots in the oil over medium heat until they are soft and just starting to change color. Add the parsley and porcini and continue to cook for a minute. Raise the heat to high and add the butter and Marsala and cook, stirring until the mushrooms are glazed and the marsala has mostly evaporated. (This can be done in advance, up to 3 hours, or even refrigerated over night.)

Grill the polenta (or fry it in oil) until crusty on both sides. If frying, drain on paper towels.

Take the hot mushroom mixture (reheat if needed, adding a little Marsala if needed to reheat) and add the proscuitto. Mix and spoon over the polenta. Do not really cook the proscuitto as it tends to get tough, just warm it up quickly in the mushrooms, say 15 seconds and remove from the heat.


3/4 cup polenta
3 cups water
1/4 tsp. salt

OK, this is NOT how your grandmother made polenta, but when you are making it for 70 people, you tend to cut a few corners.  We made 20 batches.

Mix the polenta, water and salt in a 3 quart pyrex bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 8 minutes. Remove and stir until well blended. Microwave for another 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon into a buttered baking dish and let it cool until it gets firm then cut into pieces.

We grilled the polenta on the BBQ to reheat, but you can fry it or grill it on the stove on a ridged pan or even (gasp) reheat in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.

Notes: The polenta will be less firm, but can be eaten without the second microwaving.  After microwaving the polenta can be eaten as is, it will be "soft polenta."

Serves 4.