Polenta e funghi

Mushroom & polenta   Our original home cooking

Mushroom polenta is one of the most traditional recipe in the north of Italy. At first, I propose you the original Italian recipe and then my healthy version. My husband and my guests like it very much, considered the speed at which they eat this dish of mine ;)) You can use a great variety of wild and cultivated mushrooms: porcino (cep or boletus), chanterelle ... Recipe for the Mediterranean diet.

polenta and mushrooms in tomato sauce
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Polenta and mushrooms

Ingredients / Serves 4

  • 375g (13 1/4 ounces) pre-cooked polenta flour (cornmeal)
  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) fresh mushrooms
  • 500g (1.1 pound) chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 100ml (3 1/3 fluid ounces) red wine
  • 2 tablespoons dried chives
  • 1 little young onion, chopped
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon dried parlsey
  • Salt
  • Fresh sausage (if you want)
  • Time:
    preparation: 30 minutes
    plus time for cleaning mushrooms
    cooking time: 30 minutes with pre-cooked polenta flour
    total: 60 minutes
  • Difficulty:
    easy recipe
  • How many calories in a serving?
    Calories: 484 (kcal) 25 % GDA (*)- 2027 (kJ)
    Protein: 19.2 (g) 26 % GDA
    Total fat: 11.7 (g) 17 % GDA
    Total carbohydrate: 75.8 (g) 29 % GDA
    Sugars: 7.8 (g) 9 % GDA

Look at infographic of nutrition facts

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Mushroom polenta recipe

I start with the traditional Italian recipe in which I use less olive oil. Below, in my tips, you can find my variation for a healthier dish.

Preparation and cooking

  • - Clean mushrooms.
    Use a mushrooms brush or an old and soft toothbrush to brush off any earth.
    Then wipe them with damp kitchen paper.
    Mushrooms shouldn't be washed before using but if they are very earthy, plunge them into a bowl of warm water quickly, drain and dry immediately.
    Quarter your mushrooms or slice them according to their size.
    Use a stainless steel knife for this operation: other material could discolor mushrooms.
    Preparation time is long; you need about half an hour.
  • - Cook mushrooms.
    Put olive oil, bay leaf and onion in a large saucepan.
    Fry on low heat, stirring now and then.
    At this point add chopped tomatoes, wine, marjoram and mushrooms (sausage in pieces, if you want).
    Season to taste with salt and cook over a gentle flame, half-covered, stirring now and then.
    Do not add water! Mushrooms produce water themselves. Add it only if it's necessary in a second time.
    Cooking time is about 20-30 minutes, depending on mushroom varieties.
    Add parsley and chives once you turn off the stove.
  • - Cook polenta.
    If you use pre-cooked polenta flour, you have to follow the instructions on the package.
    If you decde to use traditional polenta flour, you need more time and patience!
    Bring 2 liters (4 pints - 8 C) water to the boil in a large saucepan (preferably in copper).
    Season to taste with salt and, just before water begins boiling, sprinkle in cornmeal, stirring briskly to prevent lumps from forming.
    Lower the heat and continue cooking, stirring continuously, for at least 40 minutes.
    Look at the photo to see your polenta consistence once cooked.

Just before serving

  • - When your polenta is ready, spread it out over a large wooden board.
    You should cut it with a length of string, after letting it cool a minute or so.
    Arrange polenta slices on the dishes and top with mushroommixture.

Note

Tips

  • - Remember to purchase mushrooms from a reputable dealer! do not pick them unless you are accompanied by an expert mycologist or guide!
  • - You could choose cultivated mushrooms too but the flavor isn't the same.
  • - You can also use frozen mushrooms (600g - 1.3 pound) for a quicker mushroom polenta recipe.
    They must be added, without thawing, to the tomato sauce during cooking. In this case complete cooking on medium high heat to promote a quick reduction of the cooking liquid.
  • - And now my variant. Generally I don't fry onion in olive oil, this step burdens the work of our liver.
    I braise onion in a little water. Then I add tomatoes, bay leaf, marjoram and mushrooms (the sausage when I decide to use it too). I cook without wine over very low heat, diluting with a little hot water only if necessary. I add fresh chopped parsley and chives once stove is turned off. The olive oil is the last thing I add just before serving. I assure you it is delicious. You have just to try it. In this way all olive oil properties remain intact

Menu planning

  • - Mushroom polenta is a great dish for your family but it is also a tantalizing idea when you plan your get-togethers.
  • - How to serve polenta and mushrooms in a full menu when you have guests? You can choose among several options.
    Start with a variety of finger food or an assorted antipasto platter, Italian-style that you can match with the same wine chosen for polenta dish. Your next dish will be mushroom polenta. A dessert will close your meal.
    Or you can serve your mushroom polenta as an appetizer. In this case, reduce a lot your servings and place hot polenta in individual little bowls. Then serve your favorite pasta or rice dish and a second course based on meat. A fall or winter cake will close your menu.
    Another solution can be to prepare a different starter with polenta. Prepare polenta ahead and let it cool. Cut and grill just before serving and place grilled polenta slices with mushroom sauce on the top on a serving platter.

Useful links for this recipe

Healthy eating

  • - I calculated nutrition facts of mushroom polenta without sausage.
    Obviously nutrition facts change completely with the addition of this ingredient.
    To get an idea of the changes think that 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) sausage contain: 304 kcal and about 26 grams of fat. No variation about sugars.
  • - Mushroom polenta is a perfect one-plate meal for your family.
    Complete your menu with fresh seasonal fruit.

Loretta

What's the right wine for " Mushroom & polenta "?

My husband and I suggest you to pair Terre di Franciacorta Rosso (wine from Lombardy) with mushroom polenta.