I have eaten polenta many ways, with lumps, without lumps, refrigerated and cut into slices, fried, grilled, sauteed, with sugar and milk, with a rich sauce…and I love them all. There is something about polenta that makes you want to dig deep into a comfy chair and watch a good movie, or read a nice book, or have deep conversations. It is my comfort food. Not that I feel very comfortable to get onto the scale the next day, but then again, the scale has never been a comfortable spot.
My husband is away for a month, in the States, so I feel it’s permitted to indulge in some polenta. I had this for dinner tonight. A while ago we had it as a starter. After you’ve served the portions and there is some leftover, pour it immediately into a flat dish, let it cool in the fridge, cut into pieces and use in a salad the next day. You could treat it as croutons, by lightly sprinkling with olive oil and toast it in the oven. Whichever way you have it, just enjoy it.
I adore mushrooms. There is nothing more wonderful than dropping some freshly picked mushrooms, still smelling of the woods, into a pan with some olive oil and a chopped shallot. You don’t need much more. Except maybe a good glass of wine. I didn’t pick these unfortunately, but they are fresh enough at the markets.
Creamy polenta with mushrooms
- 1 cup of polenta(medium or fine grain)
- 3 cups of water
- big punch of salt
- generous lump of butter
- 3/4 c grated parmesan cheese
- 1 shallot
- a mixture of mushrooms of your choice and what is avalailable
- olive oil
- red wine for deglazing
- salt and pepper
- a lump of butter
- about a TBS of fig balsamic vinegar
- chopped parsley
- Bring the water to the boil, add some salt.
- Add the polenta slowly while stirring. Lower the heat and continue stirring while it simmers gently for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened and it pulls away from the sides. If you stop stirring and you stir later, it will form lumps. Remove from the heat and add the butter and parmesan cheese. If left standing it will eventually thicken, so I would suggest to make it not too long before eating, 30 minutes is sufficient time to make it and have it still soft and creamy at the table.
- Clean the mushrooms with a soft brush or toweling paper.
- Chop the shallot and sautee in some olive oil. Add the mushrooms and suatee over high heat just until limp. If you leave them longer, they will become rubbery and lose their fresh taste. season to taste. Remove to a dish.
- Deglaze the mushroom pan with a little red wine and the tablespoon of fig balsamic vinegar. Whisk in a lump of butter, taste for seasoning and serve immediately.
- To serve. Serve a helping of creamy polenta in a bowl, top with mushrooms and drizzle with the wine sauce. Finish off with a turn of the pepper mill and some chopped Italian parsley. Serve immediately.