Mushrooms and polenta
Polenta (or cornmeal) is a typical dish of my hometown, Bergamo. There, polenta with porcini mushrooms is a Sunday dish. This is because, traditionally, Sunday is a day with no rush, when grandmothers can indulge in cooking food over a fire for hours. That’s why, when someone is extremely slow in doing something, we call them “polenta”.
There are two ways of cooking polenta: firm or soft. In Northern Italy, Bergamo is the territory of firm polenta, while neighboring city of Brescia is the territory of soft polenta. The difference is only in the ratio of flour and water you add, which will determine the texture of polenta. However, firm polenta has the advantage that it can be sliced like a steak when cold. Therefore, you can grill the leftovers slices, or even fry them. Both ways are delicious!
Luckily, nowadays making polenta doesn’t require a fireplace and doesn’t require two hours stirring. You can buy instant polenta and the results are pretty amazing. This is indeed a quick and easy recipe that you can make when you need some delicious comfort food in low calories. Polenta, indeed, has very few calories, and if you do not add cheese or butter, this will fill your belly but won’t make you fat!
- 3 cups polenta
- 5 cups of water
- A pinch of rock salt
- 10-12 chestnut mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable powder
- Parsley, to taste
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Put the water in a cooking pot, add the rock salt and bring to the boil on a low heat.
Rinse the mushrooms and slice them thinly. In a saucepan, add a little olive oil, the garlic clove, and heat to low. When the oil starts sizzling, remove the garlic and add the mushrooms, with a little water. Sprinkle with the vegetable powder and parsley. Stir and let them simmer for 5 minutes.
As the water boils in the cooking pot, turn the heat off and pour in the polenta, continually stirring with a whisk. Continue to stir until there are no lumps (an electric whisk will do magic). The texture should be smooth and soft.
Transfer to the serving bowls and set aside to cool. As the mushrooms are cooked, put the cornstarch in a glass and add a little cold water (just enough to dissolve it). Stir well, and add the solution to the mushrooms. As the water thickens, take off the heat and pour onto the polenta.
Your delicious meal is ready!