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Creamy White Polenta with Roasted Portobello Mushrooms, Truffle Oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano

From Barbara Lynch of No. 9 Park, in Boston. Our dear friend and world renowned chef offers her recipe for Marino Felice Polenta.

7 cups water
2 cups Mulino Marino Felice Fine Cornmeal (polenta)
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta, and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens.  Turn the heat to low and switch to using a wooden spoon to stir the polenta.  Continue to cook the polenta for 40 minutes, stirring frequently so that the polenta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.  If the consistency is too thin, slowly add more polenta until the mixture has the consistency of cream of wheat.  Add cream, butter, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir for another 3 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.

5 – 6 large Portobello mushrooms (tops only)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp fresh thyme
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tbsp truffle oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine mushroom tops, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil.  Mix well.  Place on baking sheet and bake at 475°F for about 10 minutes, until mushrooms are dark brown and slightly soft.  Remove mushrooms from the oven and let cool.  When mushrooms are cool enough to handle, slice thinly retaining the juices.  Keep mushrooms in the juices until ready to serve.

To Plate: spoon creamy polenta into individual shallow, oven-proof plates.  Top with sliced mushrooms, drizzling a small amount of the juice over the top.  Place beneath broiler for about 4 minutes, or until polenta forms a thin crust.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with truffle oil and shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Garnish with fresh thyme.

Serves six.

Northern Regions September 2006

Coming in from Austria, the train took us straight to Bolzano, one of the largest cities in the Alto Adige region of Italy. We approached the city along the infamous Strada di Dolomiti that winds its way for miles through the Dolomites. In the valleys apples are grown but we were looking for steep, south-facing Continue Reading »