Growing up in a southern Italian household in the United States, polenta wasn’t standard dinner or lunch fare; in fact, corn hardly made an appearance at our kitchen table. Fast forward about 20 years and we can’t wait for the Fall season to come around so we can prepare a bit pot of steamy polenta flavored with wild mushrooms and homemade broth and served alongside fennel-laden sausage made by local butchers.
Our recipe for making soft polenta is straightforward and can be altered to accommodate any flavoring agent and/or made with just butter and Parmigiano Reggiano.
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 package of stock mushrooms (or any variety you desire), chopped roughly
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 cups of chicken broth or water (broth will make the polenta much tastier)
- 1 cup of cornmeal (fine ground)
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Finely dice the onion and saute in olive oil and butter combination until soft. Add mushrooms, along with salt and pepper, and sautee until the mushrooms begin to loose their liquid.
- Next, add three cups of water/broth combination to a large pot and bring to a boil.
- In a seperate bowl, add 1 cup of broth (or water) to 1 cup of corn meal. Stir together well. When the pot with water/broth combination comes to a boil, add the corn meal (or rather sprinkle lightly; don't add all at once and too quickly) to the pot and stir (with a whisk) until all the cornmeal has absorbed the liquid.
- Add onions and mushrooms, grated Grana or Parmigiano Reggiano, a tablespoon or two of butter, and additional salt and pepper if necessary.
- The sausage can be cooked separably (either grilled or roasted in the oven) and thereafter sliced and served on top of the smooth polenta.