Lee & Lou: Polenta + Wild Mushrooms

By Lee & Lou Havlicek.
Lee & Lou Cook.

Wild Mushrooms with Polenta

Do you know about polenta? We mean, do you KNOW about it? Not like, have you heard the word used in a sentence, could you point it out in a lineup. But do you know how great it is, how easy it is to make, how you should be eating it way more than you are now? Because if not, it’s time.

For instance, do you know that polenta is delicious and filling and homey? Do you know that it can be swapped in for pasta or grains in just about any bowl for a filling meal (and a gluten-free one at that, if that’s your thing), or that it makes an amazing side dish all on its own? Do you know that it’s made of—wait for it—corn? (Hence, the gluten-free-ness.) Do you know that you should definitely be adding it to your list of meal staples? Doing so might just help you avoid food fatigue with your flagging roster of go-to dishes, and it will definitely make your mouth happy.

Wild Mushrooms with Polenta

If you answered no to any of the above questions, we’re here for you. This is your polenta crash course. The day you learn that the thing you’ve been missing in your life and your stomach, the thing that fits in that weirdly shaped hole in your otherwise whole heart is actually: polenta.

Polenta is one of those beautiful blank slate ingredients. You can turn it into so many things. It’s even more versatile than something like pasta or rice because not only can you make it sweet or savory, mix in anything you can dream up or pile whatever you like on top, but you can also make it creamy, baked, fried, soft, or crispy.

Wild Mushrooms with Polenta

This time of year, our favorite style of polenta—and also the easiest, it just so happens, since it’s the first step in turning it into all other forms—is warm and soft and creamy: cooked in milk and water until the grains turn into a cream-of-wheat-like mixture, at which point we fold in Parmesan cheese and butter to make that softness and creaminess even more so—and to make it really, really tasty. It’s sort of like Italian grits.

Wild Mushrooms with Polenta

So, once you’ve got a bowl of this hot goodness, what to do with it? Well, you can eat it as is and be all kinds of happy. Orrrr. You can go one step further, and put something equally phenomenal on top… Like maybe an awesome Wild Mushroom Ragu? Yeah, that sounds about right for a super amazing, hearty winter meal, which just so happens, through no ingredient-swapping or fiddling, to also be vegetarian and gluten-free.

Pretty good, huh? For the recipe, and oh so much more Lee & Lou click here.


Lee & Lou Cook: leeandloucook.com
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Lee & Lou on Twitter: @leeandloucook
Lee on Twitter: @leehavlicek

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