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savory polenta cupcakes

February 16, 2012

Not exactly my idea of a cupcake, but I admit I just adapted the name of the original recipe.  Ever since I learned how easy the perfect polenta can be, polenta recipes are more tempting than ever. Inspired by a Food and Wine recipe for individual lasagna cakes, I thought polenta might be a nice substitute (spoiler alert: for once, I was right).

This is not a light dinner. This is a stick-to-your-ribs, baby-it’s-cold-outside, where-are-my-pj-pants, kind of recipe. Of course, serve a salad on the side and tell yourself that it all balances out in the end.

savory polenta cupcakes
inspired by and adapted from food and wine


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the ramekins
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 cups polenta
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup snipped chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 8 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely diced
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Cook the polenta.
  2. Spread out cooked polenta in a thin layer (no more than an inch) over a baking sheet and allow to cool.
  3. Using a measuring cup that is slightly smaller than your ramekin, cut out your polenta layers.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  5. Butter ramekins and coat with Parmigiano; tap out the excess. Place the ramekins on a sturdy rimmed baking sheet.
  6. In a large saucepan, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Add the milk and whisk over moderate heat until the sauce is bubbling and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg, chives, parsley and 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano. Let cool slightly, then stir in the Fontina and prosciutto. Season the filling with pepper.
  7. Arrange 1 polenta round in the bottom of each ramekin. Spoon filling into each ramekin and top with another polenta round; press to flatten slightly. Note: Number of layers you can fit will depend on how thin you were able to spread out your polenta. The thicken the polenta round, the fewer the layers.
  8. Top with the remaining filling and polenta round. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmigiano and cover loosely with foil.
  9. Bake the cupcakes for about 15-20 minutes, until the filling is just bubbling.
  10. Remove the foil and bake for about 10 minutes longer, until slightly puffed and the tops and sides are golden. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  11. Run a knife around each “cupcake” and invert onto plates, tapping firmly to release them. Serve with that feel-good green salad on the side.
5 Comments leave one →
  1. Farm Love Food permalink
    February 16, 2012 1:54 pm

    I’m not usually a polenta fan, but this looks awesome! I definitely will be trying it!

    • February 16, 2012 2:04 pm

      Oh, I’m biased because I love me some polenta. Like bread I see it as this awesome vehicle for butter, salt and cheese.

      For another alternative, you might try lightly boiling some potatoes and then slicing them to be your layers.

      • Farm Love Food permalink
        February 16, 2012 2:06 pm

        I’ve always had polenta plain. I think that is where I have been going wrong.

      • February 16, 2012 4:30 pm

        That’s definitely what was going wrong! So sad. It’s like eating pasta with nothing on it–of course, you’re not a fan!

  2. March 1, 2012 9:17 pm

    Yum, yum, yum. I can’t wait to try this. I love polenta/grits etc

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