Tonight I prepared a simple adaptation of a recipe for Ancient-Grain Polenta with Mushrooms by Michael Chiarello, from his book, Bottega: Bold Italian Flavors from the Heart of California’s Wine Country. He recommends pairing with Sangiovese wine.
1/2 cup polenta
1½ cups cold water
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2+ tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup mixed porcini and chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 tsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2+ tbsp. crème fraîche
- Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms, being careful to let them brown and not steam. Don’t stir them, don’t salt them, and don’t turn them until the bottom layer is brown, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the garlic and sauté until the garlic shows a light brown color. Toss in the thyme and the parsley. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the milk, water, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to medium.
- Gradually whisk in the polenta in a slow, steady stream. Stir constantly until the polenta is smooth and creamy, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the nutmeg, fontina, and Parmesan.
- Serve the polenta topped with mushrooms, parsley, and a dollop of crème fraîche.