For this soft polenta dish, creamy, cheesy, irresistible Italian polenta, similar to American grits, is cooked slowly until impossible soft and then is topped with all kinds of sauteed mushrooms.
LC Not That Kind of 'Shroom Note
This recipe calls for a mix of wild and exotic mushrooms, and if you wanted to sub your personal favorites in place of any of them, we wouldn’t tell. The polenta is ready to make best friends with any variety of ‘shroom you care to mention – except that kind. You know, the kind you might find in a Woodstock-goer’s rucksack. When we say ‘forest mushrooms’, we’re not hinting at anything. This recipe is magical enough without any outside assistance.
Soft Polenta with Forest Mushrooms
- Quick Glance
- Quick Glance
- 35 M
- 1 H, 20 M
- Serves 6 to 10
Put the polenta meal and cream in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning.
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and saute for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mushrooms are browned and softened. Add the garlic, shallots, and bay leaf and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until the garlic and shallots are softened. Add the white wine while stirring the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dissolve any browned solids into the liquid.
Remove from the heat, remove and discard the bay leaf, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
Add the cheese and butter to the warm polenta. Stir until the butter melts and the cheese is incorporated. Taste and add more cheese, if desired.
To serve, arrange a mound of polenta on a small plate or in small bowls. Top with some of the mixed mushroom saute. Repeat to make 5 to 9 more servings.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
We unexpectedly found fresh wild chanterelles at a market recently and I just knew I had to make them with polenta. This recipe really showcased the wild mushrooms (we also used hen-of-the-woods) yet the creamy polenta refused to fade from the spotlight. It was luxuriant, rich, decadent, smooth, and positively irresistible. The added Parmesan really didn’t hurt, either. Cream, butter, and cheese—not the healthiest ingredients out there, especially as they were in profusion here, but it was healthy for my soul. And the mushrooms! They were simply sautéed, mixed with shallots and garlic and bay leaves, and deglazed with white wine. This is restaurant-quality food. It looked like it, too. I served it with simple steamed broccoli so at least I could feel satisfied that it was, after all, a little healthier. Or so I convinced myself…. Today’s lunch was leftover creamy cheesy polenta (alas, the mushrooms were all eaten, but it was all I wanted). And it satisfied.