Polenta Experimenta

Pecorino Polenta

topped with Spicy Mushrooms Balsamico

I have always been a bit intimidated by polenta. Not only does it take FOREVER (and it DOES take forever! And by forever I mean at least one hour and a HALF! Don’t let the recipe’s fool you!. I received polenta in my Quinciple box a week or two ago. My first thought was, ‘rut row, now I’m forced to make polenta!’ Usually (sorry, Quinciple!) I never believe the timing of Quinciple recipe’s, mostly because once I was cooking Risotto per their recipe and damned them to hell for telling me it would take 30 minutes! YEAH RIGHT! It took almost, 2 hours! My feet hurt by the end! Talk about CONSTANT stirring! So I am ashamed to say I didn’t even look at Quinciple’s polenta recipe. Well don’t you worry, Quinciple! Payback is certainly a B*&@$. Usually I cross reference my recipes: Quinciple (or whomever) with my Cook’s Illustrated bible. I guess in my laziness I skipped this step. Turns out the Quinciple directions say it will take an hour and a half! #lessonlearned! My GO TO, Cook’s Illustrated  gets it wrong sometimesss. Actually… wait! No it doesn’t!  This is the first time CI has wronged me! (Don’t fret child, I still LOVE YOU!) I trust their recipes 100%. Still do even after me and Polenta got in a fight after it took an hour and a half to cook. It’s probably something I’m doing a bit wrong, or maybe it was the type of polenta I was using, hence why Quinciple was closer to the correct timing. But the end result was still great. So I guess I’ll go with that good ol’ saying that everyone knows, “all’s well that ends well!” And ain’t it the TRUTH! PREACH!!

I think in total, it took me about an hour and 40 minutes. And I had tasted it so after that I was practically full! That being said, my victim, AHEM.. I MEAN taste tester, really enjoyed the polenta. It just depends on if it is worth it to you to perfect polenta in your kitchen. This recipe does turn out lovely. I kept myself entertained with this really great sparkling Rose:14089856593_54bfb5b7e5_b

Anywho… On to the Recipe:



  • 1 1/2 cups Polenta (medium-grind cornmeal, preferably stone ground)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 1 stick of butter; divided into 3 TBSP and 5 TBSP (5 TBSP is optional)

Spicy Mushrooms in Balsamico:

  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1 small yellow onion chopped
  • 1 Jalepeno chopped, with seeds for spice! (optional)
  • 2-3 medium cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 1 lb Wild Mushrooms (I used white button MR’s from Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms, Landenberg, PA , but you can use cremini, shiitake, oyster, or a blend! Chef’s choice!)
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or broth (or vegetable)
  • 1 TBSP Balsamic Fig Vinegar (or any high end Balsamic Vinegar of your choice)
  • Salt and Peppa
  • Block of Locatelli Pecorino Romano Cheese for grating into Polenta and on top of individual bowls.

First, get the polenta going! Like I said, it takes about 90 minutes. Boil 6 cups of water in a heavy bottomed 5 qt pot with a lid- I used the Le Creuset 5 qt dutch oven which worked well. While the water is working up to a boil, prep your ingredients.

Once the water is at a rolling boil, reduce the burner to the lowest possible setting and add 1 TBSP of salt. Pour the cornmeal into the water slowly and steadily, whisking as you pour to prevent lumps. Cover, and cook, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon for 10 seconds every 5 minutes or so. This helps to prevents clumps and to prevent the bottoms from burning. Make sure to scrape up any bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. You will know when the polenta is ready, it will be smooth and it will lose it’s starchy flavor. I would definitely taste test at the 30 minute mark, but keep it going until it tastes creamy. Right when it tastes good, I added the remaining butter and grated about 1/2 cup of the Lovatelli cheese into the Polenta.

While the polenta is (slowly) cooking, melt 3 TBSP butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onions and Jalepeno’s. Saute until softened (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and rosemary and saute until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

Add Mushrooms. Saute stirring occasionally until softened (about 5 minutes).


Add Fig Vinegar and give it a stir (about 30 seconds). Add broth or stock and salt and peppa to taste.


Simmer briskly until sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes and adjust seasoning as necessary.


If the mushrooms are finished and the polenta still tastes starchy (don’t worry… just keep sipping that sparkling Rose!), put the mushrooms in a bowl an set aside. You can always reheat them once the polenta is ready.

Once the Polenta is ready, divide into bowls, top with spicy mushroom balsamico and sprinkle some cheese on top!  (My mouth just watered when I wrote that!)


xoxo MCN


About miacucinanyc

To put it simply: A Food Journey- From my kitchen to yours… <3 Through NYC and Beyond <3 Come, mangia with me!
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