Turkey Bolognese Polenta Nests

Total Time

Prep: 40 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling


2 dozen

Updated: Nov. 15, 2023
This delicious appetizer combines two of my favorite foods, polenta and bolognese meat sauce, uniting them into one incredibly tasty bite! —Lidia Haddadian, Pasadena, California
Turkey Bolognese Polenta Nests Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 3-1/2 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, bring 3 cups chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle boil; slowly whisk in cornmeal. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon until polenta is thickened and pulls away cleanly from side of pan, 15-20 minutes (mixture will be very thick). Stir in 1/2 cup cheese, cream, salt and pepper. Spoon 2 tablespoons polenta mixture into each mini muffin cup. As polenta cools, press an indentation in center of each with end of wooden spoon handle to create a nest shape. Set aside. Wipe out pan.
  3. In same saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add turkey; saute until no longer pink. Stir in tomato paste, Italian seasoning and remaining chicken stock. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Fill each polenta indention with about 2 teaspoons turkey mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; bake until edges are golden, 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven; cool at least 10 minutes before removing from muffin cups. Refrigerate or freeze for later use.

Test Kitchen tips
  • If your polenta doesn't hold its shape in the muffin tins, add a little more cooking time to set up.
  • This also makes a great main dish. Just spoon warm polenta onto serving plates and top with the bolognese sauce.
  • Nutrition Facts

    1 appetizer: 80 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 14mg cholesterol, 154mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 4g protein.