Polenta With Mushrooms



  1. Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour in the boiling water.
  2. Press them down into the water now and then until they are soft, anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes depending on how dry they were.
  3. When it's time to cook with them, lift them out of the water and chop them roughly.
  4. Reserve the soaking water.
  5. Put the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  6. When hot, add the soaked dried and fresh mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and have released all their liquid, 10 to 15 minutes.
  8. Add the wine and let it bubble away for 1 minute, then stir in the garlic, 1/4 cup of the parsley, and 1 cup of the reserved soaking water.
  9. Cook until the liquid thickens a bit, another 2 or 3 minutes, then taste, adjust the seasoning, and turn off the heat under the skillet.
  10. Put the polenta in a pot with 1 cup water and whisk to form a smooth slurry.
  11. Whisk in the milk and a large pinch of salt and set the pot over medium-high heat.
  12. Heat until the mixture boils, then lower the heat to medium and cook, whisking frequently and adding more water to prevent lumps and keep the mixture somewhat soupy.
  13. Expect to add another 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups of water before the polenta is ready.
  14. The polenta will be done in 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the grind.
  15. It will be thick and creamy, with some grittiness, and the mixture will pull away from the sides of the pan when stirred.
  16. When the polenta is done, turn the heat under the mushrooms to medium to warm them quickly.
  17. Stir the butter and cheese into the polenta, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
  18. Serve the polenta topped with the mushrooms and garnished with the remaining 1/4 cup parsley.