Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

A Real 30 Minute Meal

Posted June 21, 2013


Polenta with Spicy Mushrooms
Dana Treat Original
Serves 4

You can use any grind of cornmeal for the polenta.  It does not have to be labeled “polenta”.  I’ve had success with all of it.  I personally think the polenta itself has a ton of flavor with just vegetable broth and a small handful of Parmesan cheese but you can add cream and more cheese if you want it to be richer. 

Unless I am serving them stuffed or grilled, I almost always scrape the gills out of a portabello mushroom.  There is no flavor in the gills and it just make the color of whatever you are cooking muddy.  I just use a teaspoon to scrape them out.

1½ cups polenta or cornmeal
6 cups water or vegetable broth
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½-1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 large portabello mushrooms, gills scraped out, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ pound cremini or white mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
2 tbsp. tomato paste
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
Additional Parmesan cheese

Pour the water or broth into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Slowly add the polenta in a steady stream, whisking constantly.  Continue whisking until the mixture seems really thick.  It will seem like too much liquid at first but will thicken up quickly.  Add a pinch of salt and turn down the heat.  Cook, stirring once every five minutes or so, until very thick, about 25 minutes.  Stir in the ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, place a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the onions and red bell pepper along with a large pinch of salt.  Continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and just start to brown, about 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook until fragrant but make sure the garlic does not burn, about 3 more minutes.  Add all the mushrooms, turn up the heat to medium-high, and cook until the mushrooms are brown in spots, another 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and stir well to incorporate.  Pour in the wine and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced to a syrupy consistency.  Stir in the basil and taste for salt and pepper.  Serve bowls of polenta topped with the mushroom mixture and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.


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