Thursday, September 30, 2010

Polenta with wild mushrooms

Polenta. Fresh wild mushrooms. No need to add many more ingredients, for this dish is so good because it's so simple. And it taste like the beginning of autumn, cool mornings and falling leaves, and all the other lovely things we associate to early fall. Some find the fall sad and don't welcome the cooler air and the shorter days, but I've always loved the fall —maybe because I was born in the September  (yesterday as a matter of fact!)— and I'm very excited about the fact that this year I'll be spending it near the woods, the lake and the mountains of Switzerland.

Other than the yellow and red leaves and the brisk lake breezes, I'm looking forward to the fragrance of wood burning in the fireplace, and to the stews, polentas and roasts one only eats when the temperature drops. I'm also looking forward to the year ahead of me and to see if being 30 is all it's cracked up to be. Yesterday my birthday was one of the best of my life so far and if that is an indicator of the year that lies ahead, I think I will enjoy a pretty great year.

Serves 4

1/2 cup instant polenta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound fresh porcini mushrooms, stemmed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound fresh finferli mushrooms, trimmed
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup Madeira or Marsala
Cook polenta according to package directions. When it's almost ready, stir in Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and butter. Keep warm.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over high heat. Add mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley and thyme. Add Madeira, and cook, stirring to scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until liquid is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Taste, and adjust for seasoning.

Spoon warm polenta on the bottom of each dish and top with mushroom sauce. Serve immediately.


  1. Great looking polenta dish! I remembered your birthday because I think we discovered last year we share a birthday! (Yours is the 30th, right?) Anway, hope you're having a great birthday! :)

  2. We almost share it! I was born the 29th...! Hope you had a great birthday Faith!



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