Creamy Polenta with Portobello Mushrooms and Red Pepper

Last night my husband had a zoom client meeting that included a wine tasting from Napa Valley. The manager of Amizetta winery in Napa (St. Helena, to be exact) walked them through two wines. My job was to make a great meal that would pair well with a bold Cabernet and a Merlot. The first thing that came to mind, of course, was portobello mushrooms! These steaky mushrooms are versatile and hold up well to the deep complexity of the cabernet and the soft tannins of the merlot. So yummy! I couldn’t decide between creamy polenta or polenta cakes, so I made both.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound portobello mushrooms, sliced to ¼” slices
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped
½ cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste

I used a store-bought San Gennaro Polenta, a traditional Italian
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Warm medium skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Once the oil has heated and begins to shimmer, add onion and bell pepper. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Remove pepper/onion mixture from pan and add to a mixing bowl. If necessary, add more oil and then add mushrooms and spices to the pan. Saute for about 5-7 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, and add salt and pepper. Add spinach and cook until spinach has wilted. Add pepper/onion mixture to pan and heat through until warm.

While the mushrooms are cooking, crumble ½ of polenta into a saucepan and add vegetable stock and nutritional yeast. Simmer over medium heat until most of the stock has evaporated, and the polenta is smooth. I used a potato masher to help break down the polenta. Take the other half of the polenta and slice into ¼” pieces and add to a well oiled warmed skilled. Cook for about 3-4 minutes per side or until sufficiently browned.

To plate: Add creamy polenta to a plate, top with browned polenta slices, then top with the mushroom mixture—salt and pepper to taste.

What did you think? I'd love to hear from you!

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