Cheesy Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms Recipe

Cheesy Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms Recipe
Comfort food means different things to different people, depending on where they grew up. For many Italians, creamy polenta is one of those comfort foods. It’s good on its own with butter and cheese stirred in, or topped with a favorite sauce. Once cooled, it can be cut into squares, buttered, fried, and topped with dozens of ingredients. While reviewing an excellent cookbook dedicated to preparing quick Italian food, The Easy Italian Cookbook, I saw a recipe that would make a tasty Italian side dish, Soft and Cheesy Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms. It happened to be midnight, and I had all of the ingredients, so I put my polenta in the slow cooker (the only way as far as I’m concerned), and let it cook overnight. At lunch time, I stirred the cheeses and butter into the polenta, topped it with the roasted mushrooms and had a delicious lunch. This is a great dish to serve to vegetarian friends, but just as great as a side dish with grilled or roasted poultry, meat or fish.
Hands on time for this dish is minimal, since the polenta is cooked in the slow cooker rather than stirred on the stove, and mushrooms can be purchased already sliced. Do try this delicious side dish. Everyone will love it. Incidentally, the polenta is good on its own, or topped with an Italian sauce.

8 Servings

1 cup coarse-ground yellow polenta
5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Roasted Mushrooms
1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
1 pound sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
fresh thyme sprigs
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Polenta: Stir together the polenta, water, and salt in the crock of a slow cooker.
  2. Cover, turn the slow cooker to high, and let cook one hour.
  3. After 1 hour, turn the slow cooker down to the low setting and let the polenta cook for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally, until very creamy.
  4. Stir in the butter and cheeses; set the slow cooker to warm while preparing the mushrooms.
  5. Roasted Mushrooms: Preheat the oven to 375º.
  6. Mix the mushrooms, red onions, and olive oil; spread out on a silpat or parchment lined shallow baking sheet.
  7. Scatter the thyme sprigs over the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. Roast about 15 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. Stir well.
  9. To serve: Scoop polenta in a serving bowl and top with the mushrooms.

Note: although the polenta expands and looks done after 2-3 hours, it really isn't; it needs at least 4 or 5 hours to develop the necessary creaminess.
The polenta can be kept warm for an hour or two in the slow cooker; stir occasionally. For leftovers, grease a loaf pan and pour in the polenta. Cover and refrigerate. The polenta loaf can be sliced and fried.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 242 Calories from Fat 156
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 64% Protein 11% Carb. 25%

Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 17 g
Saturated Fat 8 g
Cholesterol 31 mg
Sodium 581 mg
Total Carbohydrate 15 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 6 g

Vitamin A 9% Vitamin C 4% Calcium 0% Iron 8%

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This content was written by Karen Hancock. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Karen Hancock for details.