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Polenta with a rich mushroom sauce recipe

Polenta with a rich mushroom sauce recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Side dish
  • Sauce
  • Mushroom sauce

Italian cornmeal is topped with a dark sauce combining dried and fresh mushrooms in this luxurious dinner dish.

4 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 300 g (10½ oz) instant polenta
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • For the mushroom sauce
  • 20 g (¾ oz) dried wild mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) button or chestnut mushrooms, or a mixture of the two, thickly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 50 ml (2 fl oz) red wine
  • 5 teaspoons brandy
  • Salt and black pepper
  • To garnish: chopped fresh parsley and sprigs of thyme

MethodPrep:40min ›Cook:30min ›Ready in:1hr10min

  1. Put a kettle on to boil. Put the dried mushrooms into a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave them to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 15 seconds, then add the fresh mushrooms and continue stir-frying for 10 minutes, or until they have wilted.
  3. Strain the soaking liquid off the wild mushrooms through a fine sieve lined with muslin or kitchen paper, and add 50 ml (2 fl oz) of it to the cooked mushrooms.
  4. Roughly chop the rehydrated wild mushrooms and add them to the pan with the tomato purée, thyme, wine and brandy. Season to taste and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until you have a thin, richly flavoured sauce.
  5. Meanwhile, put the polenta and salt into a large saucepan and pour in 1.4 litres (2 pints 10 fl oz) of water, whisking continuously to prevent any lumps. Bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until it becomes firm but not stiff.
  6. Arrange spoonfuls of the polenta on individual plates, spoon the mushroom sauce alongside and garnish with the parsley and thyme.

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  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 (10 ounce) package sliced white mushrooms
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sliced cooked Italian sausage
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Prepare polenta: Stir water, polenta, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper together in an 8-inch square baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until most of the water has been absorbed, about 40 minutes.

While the polenta is baking, prepare sauce: Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for 7 minutes.

Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Pour in sausage, chicken stock, and diced tomatoes simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove polenta from the oven and stir in Parmesan cheese. Spoon sauce over polenta and serve.

Recipe Summary

  • 4 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ small onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

In a heavy saucepan over high heat, bring water to a boil with salt and pepper. Slowly pour in cornmeal, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to low and cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently as the mixture thickens.

Using a wet spatula spoon the cornmeal mixture (polenta) 1/2 inch thick onto a sheet of wax paper. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to broil. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Cook mushrooms, onion, garlic and herbs in the hot oil until mushrooms are tender.

Cut cooled polenta into squares and place on prepared baking sheet. Broil until browned on both sides. Serve with mushroom sauce.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 ⅓ cups yellow cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 6 ½ cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 1 pound mushrooms)
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • Thyme sprigs (optional)

Place the cornmeal and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Gradually add water, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium. Cook 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Spoon the polenta into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray, spreading evenly. Press heavy-duty plastic wrap onto surface of polenta, and chill 2 hours or until firm.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, thyme sprigs, and rosemary sprig cook 3 minutes or just until garlic begins to brown. Stir in mushrooms and next 5 ingredients (mushrooms through pepper) bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Add parsley cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove from heat set aside, and keep warm.

Invert polenta onto a cutting board cut crosswise into 12 slices. Place slices on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Arrange 2 polenta slices on each of 6 individual serving plates. Top each with about 1/3 cup of mushroom sauce and 1 1/2 teaspoons of Parmesan cheese. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Creamy Polenta with Mushroom Sauce

The traditional Abruzzi way to serve coarse ground polenta is sulla tavola, on a board. The polenta is cooked to a creamy consistency, poured on a board at the center of the table, and then topped with tomato sauce and finished with freshly grated Parmigiano cheese. Everyone digs in and eats until no more is left. Traditionally polenta is cooked in an unlined copper pot called a paiolo, found in every family home. When you want to prepare this dish quickly, use fine cornmeal it takes 5 to 10 minutes to cook. It goes well with the Olive Oil and Mint Orange Salad, baked eggplant drizzled with olive oil and oregano, and Chianti.

Notes Mind Refresher: Stand straight, breathe normally, and reflect on patience while stirring the polenta.

Occasion Family Get-together

Recipe Course main course

Dietary Consideration egg-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Taste and Texture cheesy, creamy, garlicky, herby, savory, tangy, umami


  • 8 cups (2 L) water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 cups (325 g) medium-coarse polenta
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion , peeled, halved, and sliced (about 1½ cup)
  • 3 (14-ounce or 400-g) cans diced tomatoes (42 ounces or 1,200 g)
  • 2 cloves garlic , peeled and halved
  • ½ ounce (15 g) dried mushrooms , soaked in hot water and finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ bunch chopped fresh basil leaves (about ½ cup)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano or Romano cheese


Bring water and salt to a boil in a large pot over high heat.

Slowly add polenta in a steady stream, stirring continuously with a long wooden spoon.

Lower heat to a gentle boil and continue stirring 30 minutes or until polenta pulls away from the sides and is not gritty. You may need to use more water as it cooks. Use boiling water.

Cover pot with buttered waxed paper and place in a warm-water bath. Polenta stays hot up to 3 hours.

Make sauce: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until onion begins to carmelize stir in tomatoes, garlic, and mushrooms, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, uncovered, 15 minutes stir in basil, salt, and pepper.

Pour hot polenta onto a clean, unfinished wooden table or a large chopping board, 18 x 18 inches (45 cm x 45 cm), and shape into a thick circle.

Make a 4-inch (10-cm) indent in the center, pour in tomato sauce, and sprinkle with cheese.

• Let cool and then slice into pieces for frying.

• Mix in diced mozzarella or fontina cheese.

• Use half water and half milk to make dish more flavorful.

• Cut into slices, put overlapping in buttered baking pan, drizzle with olive oil, and top with lots of grated Parmiggiano cheese. Bake at 400°F (200°C) until browned.

How to prepare portobello mushrooms:

  • Choose mushrooms with firm, unbroken caps.
  • Look for unbroken gills that are light brown in color. If the gills are moist or turning black, use a spoon to scrape them out and discard.
  • Gently wipe the mushrooms with a damp towel if they seem dirty, but don’t soak them in water or they’ll get soggy.
  • Slice into thick slices or chunks about 1-inch for the best chunky sauce.

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    1. Combine 6 cups water, oil and salt in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil. Gradually whisk in cornmeal. Reduce heat to low cook until polenta is very thick, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Stir in 1 1/4 cups Parmesan cheese and butter.
    2. Ladle polenta into shallow bowls. Top with Porcini Mushroom Sauce. Serve with additional cheese, if desired.

    This was delicious! It was a big hot at our dinner party. I made it as a side to go with the Porterhouse Steak and Cherry Tomato sauce recipe. I could not find dried porcini mushrooms so I used the porcini mushroom grinder that you can find in the supermarket isle with other spices. I soaked it in the water, but since it was grounded I did not strain it. It was delicious. Even our guests that didn't think they liked polenta, loved it!

    poured polenta into individual ramekin dishes and spooned mushroom sauce on top for my guests. They loved it!! I thought it was very good overall, but couldn't get past a strange aftertaste. It also tasted terrible when we reheated the leftovers the next day. Maybe I didn't wash the mushrooms thoroughly.

    I guess I expected something to tingle my pallet. This was a tasty dish, but I have had other polenta dishes that blow this away. Thus the two fork rating. I did mix the mushrooms into the polenta, versus serving them on top, but I don't think that will dramatically effect the taste.

    Very good indeed! Thanks to previous reviewers, I used a combo of shiitake and porcini also used red wine instead of white. I had a bundle of fresh thyme (from the chicken legs with lemon and thyme recipe from this website. a very happy marriage indeed!) so I threw in a big bunch, a touch of dried rosemary. Couldn't be happier. Leftover polenta cooled in a baking dish, cut and fried the next day and served with remaining exquisite mushroom sauce. Delicioso!

    This is really delicious, and fairly easy. I didn't quite have enough dried porcini, so I used .5 oz dried shiitake instead. Also, didn't have madiera, so subbed sherry. I think what really made this good was that I made it ahead of time, reheated it, and then let it sit for 15 minutes. I think the flavors really got a chance to meld. Used the "Buttered Polenta" recipe from this site, which was delicious. It's really the same, instead less butter and no cheese, though I did add some. I also cooked the polenta and hour and a half, which I think made it super good. The mushroom sauce would be GREAT over steaks, chicken, pasta, rice, etc. My guests said they felt like they were transported to Italy.

    As a poor college student, I lacked the means to buy more mushrooms so I subbed some canned ones to get the whole amount. It probably wasn't nearly as good as it could have been, but it was still delicious.

    The mushroom sauce is what makes this. Without the sauce it's a nice, easy, 3-fork polenta.

    Outstanding and very easy! No need to add all the butter. It works just as well with a small amount to finish it. I used peccorino romano and it was perfect the first time.

    Outstanding. Fry the leftover polenta in slices the next day, and cover with the sauce and it just gets better.

    I used the sauce with the Parmesan Polenta from June 1996. It's firmer and no butter, and soaked up the sauce well. Very good!

    Have made this twice in the last week for dinner parties and huge hit each time. Not wanting to crack a bottle of white, I've substituted red wine each time and it seemed fine. This is a very elegant, simple and tasty polenta dish.

    Yum--just delicious, a perfect winter meal. I didn't have white wine or Marsala, so used red wine instead, and it tasted almost like beef burgundy. I also cut down on the butter and cheese in the polenta and it was still very creamy. You can strain the mushroom liquid using a coffee filter to get rid of any silt.

    The mushroom sauce is delicious! This polenta recipe is way too creamy for my taste so I wisked in more cornmeal and made it much thicker.

    Oh my goodness this recipe is to die for. It is the ultimate comfort food. The only thing I did different was cut down on the butter by 2 Tablespoons (for the polenta) and it wasn't missed! I would follow the advice of the cook from Uganda and rinse the mushrooms next time. I can understand why the dish is so popular at Vinci's restaurant in Chicago AND why the management counts each dish and gives away a free trip to Italy to the ten-thousandth diner who orders it. Thanks for getting the recipe for us Bon Appetit.

    Very good, would reduce the water a bit too thicken the polenta as I like it more thick than this recipe produces. But overall, this was a fantastic peasant meal.

    did I miss something? Cornmeal mush and mushroom gravy? Being raised on polenta, I should have known better.

    Great recipe! The mushroom sauce is to die for! For the polenta, I decreased the water so that I could serve as baked triangles rather than the soft version. I will use this sauce for other dishes as well.

    What a wonderful recipe. Everyone at the dinner party loved it. I did forget to put the parmesan cheese in it so I served it on the side. Half of us loved it with the cheese and the other half without it. So I would serve it this way again.

    Absolutely divine. I make this dish regularly and every time I love it!

    Where is the recipe for the mushroom sauce. Not too alert this morning- found the recipe for the mhrm sauce.

    Very good! I poured the polenta into ramekins so it would form into small rounds to present on the plate with the main course. It was a big hit. I will definitely make it again. Next time I will try 1/2 parmesean and 1/2 marscapone.

    I plan to serve this dish regularly, especially for my vegetarian guests, decorated with fresh rosemary for color. Can make sauce ahead and ingredients can easily be kept on hand. I would recommend to rinse the mushrooms several times, after reserving the first water, until the bottom of the rinse water has absolutely NO SAND. Thank you.

    Reviews ( 16 )

    This was wonderful. I made a few small changes. 1. I cut half an onion and sautéed it first, then add the mushrooms. 2. I used a dried mushroom blend from Costco and reconstituted them (instead of the exotic blend it's very economical! I also used the cremini). 3. I used the broth from reconstituting the mushrooms in place of vegetable broth/water. 4. I used white wine at the end instead of lemon juice. 5. I used the mushroom water/broth instead of vegetable broth in the polenta, and I used regular polenta because the store didn't have instant. 6. I don't own gratin dishes, so I put it in a square baking pan, added the cheese and broiled. I cut it in 4 pieces when it was done. Delicious!! This is a keeper recipe, I'll make this again.

    Great recipe. I used a mixture of fresh creminis, shiitakes, and hen of the woods mushrooms. Couldn't find fontina cheese so used Gouda and sharp cheddar. Increased polenta to 1 1/4 cups. And I didn't have ramekins so I baked it in a casserole dish. Served with side salad. So delicious and a great way to observe Meatless Monday. I will be adding this to my list of recipe favorites.

    Delicious, everyone loved it. I must be a big dummy because when the recipe called for polenta, I MADE polenta. I had my lightbulb moment too late, so although I boiled the milk/stock mixture and the COOKED polenta for a loooong time, I'm sure my dish was softer than it should have been. Still, it was wonderful. I cooked Italian sausage and sauteed broccoli as two separate sides, both were excellent compliments.

    This was a flavorful and hearty vegetarian recipe. I served it with grilled asparagus which was perfect. Modifications: I had organic cremini mushrooms from the farmers market but no exotic mushroom blend, so I rehydrated some dried shitake mushrooms, which worked well. I agree with an earlier reviewer, I am not sure of the need to add broth and lemon juice to the mushroom mix. I would add it earlier next time and reduce the oil, I don’t think you need 2 tbs oil. This was my first time making polenta with milk, which made it nice and creamy (I also used 1% which was fine). I used straight cornmeal and increased the amount to 1 ¼ cup based on the recipe from the box. I also exchanged fontina cheese for parmesan, which was fantastic. Excellent dish.

    Speciality Ingredient Substitutions

    Meyer Lemon Olive Oil - I find the lemon flavored olive oil makes this dish extra special. If you don't have it on hand simply substitute with extra virgin olive oil + grated lemon zest.

    Mascarpone Cheese - Oh the Italian cream cheese. I love this product but it can be pricy and hard to find. Honestly, regular cream cheese does the job just as well and is easy to find.

    Dry White Wine - This is one of the defining flavors of the dish, so choose a wine you would drink. If you don't drink wine, use ¾ cup stock and add 1-2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar.

    Creamy Parmesan Polenta with Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce

    The Honey is not a picky eater. He generally eats – and enjoys – just about everything I cook, and patiently indulges my recipe experimentation and culinary pursuits, even if it means eating a lot of leftovers. However, mushrooms are the only ingredient he really protests, so for our meals together I tend to avoid them, and eat my fill when we go out or when he’s not around.

    I decided to indulge in a mushroom-centric meal this week, as he’s been away on business, and whipped up this rich, creamy Parmesan Polenta with a luscious topping of sauteed portobello mushrooms in a quick tomato sauce. I love the depth and earthiness that mushrooms bring to a dish like this, but for a fungus-phobe, you could certainly replace the mushrooms with any other quick-cooking veggie of your choosing, for an easy, comforting weeknight supper.

    Watch the video: Sherry Mushrooms With Creamy Polenta And Gremolata (May 2022).