We’re trying to reduce the amount of meat (primarily beef) in our home . . . and it certainly is not easy! So I decided to make a rich, cheesy, mushroom-y polenta side dish, Fontina Polenta with Sauteed Porcini Mushrooms.
Although polenta is traditionally Italian ‘cucina povera’ (food of the poor), when you serve it in these little individual gratin dishes, this polenta looks pretty fancy! Your guests will definitely be impressed!
If you like polenta, if you like cheese, and/or if you like mushrooms . . . then you’ll enjoy this humble recipe!
Oh and a big shout out to my mother who helped me in the kitchen and who helped improve the setting for shooting the photos for this dish! She did a great job didn’t she?
- 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or butter
- 2 (4-ounce) packages dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted, drained, chopped
- 1 8-oz. pre-sliced baby portobello mushrooms
- 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
- ½ tsp. minced fresh oregano
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ cup chicken broth (optional)
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 – 3 cups instant polenta (depending on the consistency you prefer)
- 2 –3 cups shredded fontina cheese, divided
- 2 teaspoon salt
Prepare the mushrooms
- Heat oil/butter in a skillet over high heat.
- Reconstitute the dried mushrooms in hot water, drain and squeeze out excess water.
- Chop mushrooms.
- Add all of the mushrooms to the hot oil/butter and sauté for about 4 minutes.
- Add herbs and garlic; sauté 1 minute.
- Stir in broth (optional), salt, and pepper.
For the polenta
- In another large heavy saucepan, bring milk and 1cup of broth to a boil.
- Stir in polenta; cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Stir in half of cheese and salt.
- Divide polenta among 4 gratin dishes; top with remaining cheese.
- Broil 5 minutes in the oven set on ‘broil’.
- Top each serving with sautéed mushrooms.
- I would like to thank my mother, now departed from this earth, for helping me plate and style the photography of these delicious Italian tarts.
I just love ‘shrooms . . . they are such a major ingredient in Italian cuisine!
Here are a few photos of some superb mushroom dishes that my parents and I enjoyed in my family’s native village of Montecreto in the Northern Italian mountains:
First you come upon a menu displayed on the outside of the ristorante
to tease your appetite!
we ordered the antipasti of “Crostini ai Funghi (Mushroom Crostini)” below:
and some perfectly crispy fried mushrooms (below)
the chef proudly brought a platter of HUGE mushrooms
freshly harvested from the mountain forest
you can see how large these mushrooms are compared to his hand on the left!
and these were just part of the antipasti!
the main entrees had not arrived yet (that’s for another post!)
If you love mushrooms as much as I do, here are two more recipes that I know your family and you will enjoy:
Besides mushrooms, there are so many ways to prepare meatless meals.