Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Creamy Polenta with Porcini Mushrooms and Pancetta

I adore a good creamy polenta in the winter. It's the ultimate Italian comfort food. This is also one of my favorite recipes of David's Give it a try!



  • 1 box of polenta
  • ½ lb of diced pancetta
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • ¼ cup of heavy cream
  • 1 to 3 cups of chicken stock (stock in a box works great!)
  • 1 container of dried porcini mushrooms
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • ½ cup of pecorino romano cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup of shaved pecorino romano
  • ¼ cup of fresh chopped chives


    Saute pancetta in a non stick skillet until crispy. Remove from pan and leave rendered fat in bottom of pan, add diced onion and saut√© on low until soft. In a small sauce pan, heat ½ cup of water to boiling and add dried mushrooms. Remove from heat and allow to soak for 15 minutes.


    Heat chicken stock to boiling. Use the liquid to polenta ratio on the package. When chicken stock is boiling add the correct amount of polenta and stir until the polenta begins to thicken. Stir in the mushrooms (*see note) and the liquid from the mushrooms, the onion, grated cheese, pancetta, and the heavy cream. Continue to stir over low heat until the polenta is thick and creamy. DO NOT stop stirring or the polenta will burn on the bottom! If the polenta is too thick you can thin it down with a little water. It should be thick, but not dry, and also not soupy. The best way to describe the consistency would be of a custard. Serve in a deep pasta bowl and top with shaved cheese and chives. Drizzle with a good quality **olive oil. ***Serve immediately.




    *when using the mushroom liquid, do not use the last ¼ cup because porcinis always have a bit of grit or sand that settles in the liquid. You don't want this in your dish!


    **good olive oil is essential or you will not appreciate the flavor of the oil! You can also top with roasted red peppers in addition to the cheese if you wish.


    *** If you wait to eat the polenta, it will become firm when it cools and will loose it's creaminess. This dish is best served and eaten right away!

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