Polenta with Kidneys, Wild Mushrooms and Field Mushrooms

Offal lovers will savour Aldo Zilli's tasty recipe for griddled polenta topped with pan-fried kidneys and fungi
By Aldo Zilli
Polenta with Kidneys, Wild Mushrooms and Field Mushrooms
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 600 g calves' kidneys
  • black pepper
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 4 field mushrooms, sliced
  • 175 g wild mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 125 ml dry white wine, such as Verdicchio
  • 8 leaves basil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • leaves torn basil, to garnish

For the polenta:

  • 1 litre water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 175 g fine polenta
  • 55 g butter
  • 115 g parmesan, freshly grated
  • freshly ground black pepper


1. Trim all the fat off the kidneys, then cut in half lengthways. Using kitchen scissors, snip out the core, then cut into quarters. Soak the quartered kidneys in water with a pinch of salt and two tablespoons of white wine vinegar for half an hour. Remove from water and rinse thoroughly.

2. To make the polenta, put the water in a large deep saucepan, add the salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and gradually add the polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk.

3. Simmer the polenta, stirring often, for 20 minutes until the polenta is very dense and thick and separating from the side of the pan; it may seem the polenta has thickened faster than stated, but it really must cook on to allow the grain to become tender.

4. Beat the butter and Parmesan into the polenta and season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Pour the wet polenta into an approximately 6 inch diameter cake tin forming a 2.5cm thick layer, smooth with a palette knife and allow to cool and set.

5. Once cooled slice the polenta into eight even-sized wedges.

6. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes until soft and just starting to brown.

7. Stir in garlic, field mushrooms, wild mushrooms, kidneys and parsley and fry for 5-8 minutes until kidneys are golden brown.

8. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped basil. Check the seasoning and keep warm.

9. Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan until very hot. Brush the polenta wedges with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place the polenta wedges on the griddle, oiled side down, pressing down onto the hot surface. Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden.

10. Brush the uncooked side of the polenta with the remaining oil,then gently turn over with a palette knife. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until browned.

11. Spoon the kidney mixture onto the polenta wedges, drizzle over the balsamic vinegar, garnish with torn basil leaves and serve immediately.

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