POLENTA and Wild Mushrooms
9 TO 10 cups of Polenta, Serving 6 or more
Put 10 cups of cold water in the pot with salt. Whisking vigorously with one hand, pour the polenta into the water in a thin steady stream (a spouted measuring cup is helpful here). Keep whisking until all the cornmeal is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
Turn on medium-low heat and gradually bring the polenta to a boil. This will take 10 minutes at least- don’t rush it. You can leave the pot for a couple of minutes, but stir frequently and thoroughly, especially the bottom, sides, and corners. As soon as you feel thickening, use a sturdy wooden spoon in place of the whisk, so you can scrape the polenta from the corners and mix it in.
The polenta will become very thick as it gets close to the boil; then big bubbles will rise and burst in (and out of) the pot. At this point, lower the heat to get a continuous but slow perking- just a couple of bubbles at a time. Set a cover ajar on top, polenta doesn’t pop all over the stove. Because of its density, spatters can easily burn you, so be careful.
Cook the polenta at this rate for another 25 to 35 minutes, stirring frequently, and adjusting heat as necessary. Stir more continuously near the end, scraping up the thickest polenta from the bottom and corners. When the polenta is glossy and just pulling away from the sides, it is done and you may turn off the heat. Or cook it longer, slowly for more flavors; mix in more water if you want it softer, or turn up the heat, stirring vigorously, to thicken it. Polenta retains heat for up to 30 minutes, so you can cover the pot and leave it for 15 minutes or so before serving. As it cools, it will form a crust on top. To prevent, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the polenta.
- 2 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups of raw chopped wild mushrooms
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh thyme chopped
- Fresh ramps or ¼ cup of onions
- Shaved Provolone or Asiago (Cheese of Choice)
In a skillet add the olive oil, Mushroom, ramps (if in season) or use leeks, or onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste add fresh thyme. On individual plates place a portion of the polenta, then the wild mushroom mix, shaved cheese and drizzles with extra virgin olive oil and repeat the layers until all ingredients are used up. Finish to layer with mushroom and cheese.