Gourmet Recipes for One is a resource of simple, delicious recipes that focus on cooking for one. Single-serving recipes are featured as well as ideas and inspiration for achieving a well-balanced lifestyle.

pan-seared polenta with mushrooms

pan-seared polenta with mushrooms | photo by: Cassandra Birocco

This hearty mushroom sauce is delicious on its own but when served over crispy polenta, it’s even better. The crispy crust you get when you sear the polenta in a hot pan is reason enough to make this recipe.

Cooking spray, for coating
2 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup polenta (yellow corn grits)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 portobello mushroom cap, thinly sliced
1 small clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh thyme
2-3 tablespoons low-sodium beef stock
2-3 tablespoons red wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. Coat a loaf pan on all sides with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5-10 minutes until mixture is thickened, whisking constantly. Season with pepper. Stir in cream and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Transfer polenta to loaf pan and smooth out top so mixture is evenly distributed in pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
3. Run a knife along inside of loaf pan to loosen polenta. Place a cutting board just large enough to cover loaf pan over its top and gently flip pan over to remove polenta. Cut polenta in half, then one half diagonal into two triangles (reserving 1 triangle and remaining half for a later use).
4. In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and allow to cook, without stirring, for about 2 minutes. Stir and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add thyme. Add wine and stock and simmer for about 2 minutes, until sauce cooks down a bit. Add butter and cook until incorporated.
5. In another sauté pan, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Fry polenta until golden brown, without touching, about 5 minutes. Carefully turn polenta over and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
6. Place polenta on a serving plate and top with mushroom mixture, followed by additional Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately.

Serves 1.

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