Soft Fontina Polenta with Wild Mushrooms
A few years ago The International Food and Lifestyle Media Conference was held in Chicago. One night during the conference the dinner was a giant buffet called "A Taste of the Windy City." At this event twenty-five of Chicago's leading restaurants each served one of their most popular dishes for the guests to taste. This delightful Italian dish was offered by the Bella Vista Restaurant.
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 pound fresh wild mushrooms such as shiitake, crimini, portabella, or porcini, thinly sliced
2 cups fat-free chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon salt
(omit if using salted stock)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3 ounces Fontina cheese, diced
1/4 cup nonfat milk
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine the water and salt in a saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the cornmeal in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until the mixture starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and set aside.
Remove the cooked polenta from the heat and stir in the Fontina cheese and milk. Continue stirring until the cheese is completely melted. Spoon 1 cup of the polenta into each of four bowls and top each serving with 1/2 cup of the sauce. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese over each one.
As prepared, each serving contains 310 calories, 14g total fat, 30mg cholesterol and 780mg sodium.