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Mascarpone Polenta with Wild Mushrooms and Ricotta
Mascarpone Polenta with Wild Mushrooms and Ricotta
(Mascarpone Polenta con Funghi Porcini e Ricotta)
 
 
Ingredients:

1 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups hickory-wood smoke chips (do not soak in water)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling
8 ounces assorted wild mushrooms (such as oyster and stemmed shiitake), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced shallot (about 1 small)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups water
1/2 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
6 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano cheese
1 cup thinly sliced radicchio
Sea salt, for sprinkling
Chopped fresh chives
Chopped fresh Italian parsley 

Directions:

Place ricotta in small baking dish.

Line large pot with 2 layers heavy-duty foil.

Scatter wood chips over foil.

Set metal steamer rack atop chips.

Cover pot tightly and heat over medium-high heat until chips begin to smoke, 10 to 12 minutes.

Place dish with cheese atop steamer rack.

Remove from heat, cover tightly, and let cold-smoke for 1 hour (do not remove lid or smoke will escape pot).

Remove cheese from pot (cheese will have colored slightly).

Spoon off any liquid that forms around cheese.

Season cheese with salt.

Cool.

Heat 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.

Add mushrooms and saute until beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.

Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, shallot, and thyme.

Saute until shallot is soft and beginning to brown, about 1 minute.

Stir in 1 tablespoon butter.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring 2 cups water to boil in heavy medium saucepan.

Gradually whisk in polenta.

Reduce heat to low.

Cover and cook until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Stir in mascarpone, Parmigiano cheese, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Rewarm mushroom mixture.

Add radicchio and stir until slightly wilted, about 1 minute.

Divide polenta among plates.

Spoon smoked ricotta atop polenta.

Divide mushrooms among plates.

Sprinkle with sea salt, chives, and parsley.

Drizzle with olive oil and serve. Makes 6 appetizer servings.

That's it!
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