Oven Polenta With Mushrooms

I’ve always been a polenta fan. This is my favorite, effortless oven polenta with mushrooms that takes all the work out of making this hearty favorite. But when you break it down, polenta is nothing more than coarsely ground cornmeal. Served as a hot porridge-style dish, or cooled and cut which can then be baked, fried, or grilled. But in northern Italy, polenta is considered a dish, not just an ingredient.

Our ancestors have been eating polenta-style dishes for centuries. Originally made with other grains such as farro, chestnuts, millet, spelt, or even chickpeas, it was not until the 16th century that the yellow corn meal began being used.

oven polenta

Polenta often gets confused with another favorite of mine, grits. But polenta is made from a corn variety that grows in Italy known as flint corn. It holds its shape better than the Southern US corn used for grits, which is called dent corn. Most noteworthy, grits come out mushier side while polenta is generally a little coarser.

oven polenta

What I love most about polenta is its versatility, although polenta with mushrooms is a favorite of mine, the possibilities are endless. Cooked cornmeal can be eaten as a side or used in a variety of recipes, from bread to desserts, and can be served warm or chilled. Above all, when cooking with any kind of polenta is it important to know that finer grinds make a soft polenta, while coarse grinds make a firm polenta.

oven polenta

Polenta is a great naturally gluten-free alternative to wheat-based foods. Despite what one may think, polenta is a low-carbohydrate food containing only 15 grams of carbs in a 3 1/2-ounce portion. Above all, polenta is also rich in vitamins A and C making it a good source of carotenoids.

The traditional method of making polenta involves stirring it in a pot for about 40 to 50 minutes, which can be time-consuming. In my recipe, the polenta is started stovetop but finished in the oven making it substantially less time-consuming. Topped with some roasted wild mushrooms and thyme, this lovely dish works perfectly as an entree, which you can substitute vegetable stock to make it vegetarian or as a side dish to just about any meat or fish.

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

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