Polenta with Mushrooms

I love Polenta. I just love it.
Growing up in Romania, Polenta was a staple in our house; it was on my grandmother’s wood burning stove when we woke up. Every. Single. Morning.
My grandparents were farmers, essentially working all year round to keep the family fed and warm in the winter. This meant raising farm animals and working the acres upon acres of land on which they grew corn, among other things.
We were eating Polenta all the time. It was made from fresh ground corn that we as a family cultivated. We were eating it layered with cheese, sour cream, and bacon. We were eating it with milk or chocolate milk. We were eating it drizzled with a simple onion mixture which was sauteed in oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika.  No matter how it was prepared, it was always delicious.
I made this Polenta and Mushroom dish before for my husband, Jeff. Last week, while meal planning for the upcoming week, he requested POLENTA. So there I was last night, making polenta with mushrooms.

Here’s my recipe that serves 2-4. If you are really hungry, I would double it 🙂

4 cups water
1 cup corn meal (Found in the baking isle of your supermarket)
Pinch of salt

16 oz of mushrooms (chopped – I used a mix of Shiitake and Baby Portabella)
2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tbs butter
1 Medium onion (chopped)
3/4 cloves of garlic (minced)
Salt/Pepper to taste
Pinch of Paprika
Parsley for garnish
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (grated)
Bring the water to a rapid boil. Season with salt and reduce the heat until it is gently boiling. Using a whisk, slowly add the corn meal to the boiling water, little by little, and whisk continuously. Continue to whisk until nice and smooth and until all the corn meal is incorporated. Reduce the heat even more, if needed, and continue to cook the polenta for about 10-15 minutes. Mix in the cheese and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, or until the polenta is creamy and tender.
Easy so far, right?
Add 2 Tbs butter and 2 Tbs olive oil to a sautee pan and heat until bubbly. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until browned and almost crispy. Add additional olive oil if needed. Finally, add the paprika and cook for 3-5 minutes longer, then remove from heat.
Plate the polenta, top it with the mushroom mixture, with cheese if desired, and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. [/recipe]

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