Polenta is a great ingredient for easy, back-pocket cooking. It’s plain enough to be malleable to many directions, and it takes easily to rich, salty flavors like Parmesan, like in this simple dinner. Topped with a saucy mushroom-tomato-thyme mixture and the combination is reminiscent of pizza, but in an elevated way. If you want to turn this into a bigger dinner for a crowd, spread the polenta out on a greased baking sheet and top with the mushroom mixture to serve family style. Add on some fresh bread and a peppery arugula salad and you’ve got an elegant dinner party in less than an hour.
Cook polenta according to package directions. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup cheese and ½ teaspoon salt, stirring until cheese is melted and polenta is smooth; cover and set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until tomatoes burst, about 5 minutes. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Cook until mostly reduced, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter to melt.
Spoon mushroom mixture over polenta and top with remaining ½ cup cheese.
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