December 9, 2010

Quick Fix Dinners: Polenta with Sauteed Mushrooms and Chili Butter

Damiano put together a wonderful, quick dish of polenta with mushrooms and a brilliant chili butter. If you can make oatmeal, then you can make polenta. Polenta is a classic dish from Northern Italy made from milled corn (same thing you make grits with). When it's made right, it's light, smooth, creamy and flavorful. And I promise, it's easy to make. With a few sauteed mushrooms and a touch of chili butter, it couldn't be better. It's just a few simple but strong flavors that work beautifully together. A great quick fix for your winter dinner cravings.

Recipe after the jump.

Polenta with Sauteed Mushroom and Chili Butter

-1 cup dried polenta
-1 T. olive oil
-1 red onion, chopped
-1 clove garlic, chopped
-1 small package button mushrooms (about 15 small mushrooms), sliced or quartered 
-4 tablespoons butter
-1/2 teaspoon chili powder

To make the polenta, bring 3 cups of water with a pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the polenta and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir (though don't feel like you have to continuously stir) to prevent the polenta from sticking to the bottom of the pan, uncovered, for about half an hour.  It should be very thick and smooth and should not taste gritty at all when finished. 

To prepare mushrooms, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until they are finished, about 10 minutes. 

To prepare chili butter, melt butter in a small saucepan and keep over heat until lightly browned, less than 5 minutes. Add chili powder and remove from heat. 

To assemble, place some polenta on a plate or bowl, top with some mushrooms and a drizzle of chili oil.  Serve at once.

Serves 4