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Wild Mushroom & Polenta Casserole
1 h 45 m
“In this vegetarian polenta casserole recipe, the choice of cheese is as important as which wild mushroom you use. Morel or hen of the woods (maitake) mushrooms give a more “meaty” experience, while chanterelle or cremini mushrooms will have a milder flavor. The polenta recipe calls for rich, nutty Taleggio or fontina cheese, but you can also use a good-quality washed rind cheese like Brie or Gouda.”
2¾ cups water
1¼ cups medium- to coarse-ground yellow cornmeal (see Tip)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1½ pounds mushrooms, preferably wild, trimmed and thickly sliced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
⅔ cup dry white wine or low-sodium vegetable broth
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
6 ounces Taleggio or fontina cheese, finely diced
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in cornmeal and salt. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the polenta is very thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape onto a clean cutting board and spread into an 8-inch-wide slab.
2Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
3Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in wine (or broth), rosemary, sage and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
4Cut the cooled polenta into 12 pieces about ½ inch wide. Arrange half the strips in the prepared dish. Top with half the mushroom mixture, half the Taleggio (or fontina) and half the Parmigiano. Top with the remaining polenta, mushroom mixture and cheeses.
5Bake until brown and bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into 6 pieces to serve.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Uncover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before finishing with Step 5.
Any type of cornmeal can be used for polenta, but we like medium- or coarse-ground cornmeal for its great texture. It's usually labeled “cornmeal,” but some brands are labeled “polenta.” Look for it near whole-grain flours. Store it airtight in the freezer.