Polenta with Wild Mushrooms

Polenta is northern Italian comfort food. Top with sautéed cremini mushrooms, or baby portobellas, for a hearty meal.

Serves: 4Hands-on: 40 minutesTotal: 40 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 4


  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal (polenta)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1½ lbs. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice


  • Add 1 teaspoon salt to the boiling water. Whisking constantly with a stiff wire whisk, gradually pour cornmeal into water in a steady stream, whisking out any lumps. Continue whisking constantly until mixture thickens noticeably.
  • Lower heat to a very low simmer. Stir regularly with a wooden spoon until full thickening is achieved, about 25 minutes. Stir in cheese and 1 tablespoon butter. Keep warm over very low heat.
  • Heat the olive oil until very hot, almost smoking, in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and 1 tablespoon butter; do not stir. Cook mushrooms undisturbed over high heat for 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt and parsley, stir, and cook until the mushrooms are wilted and juicy. Remove from heat and swirl in lemon juice and remaining butter.
  • Pour the hot polenta into a deep serving dish or bowl—it should be thick but loose. Make an indentation in the center of the polenta and spoon in the mushrooms.