Traveling through Italy this past month made me think hard about the foods I want to be eating. The Italians were so amazing at taking seasonal, local foods and making them a meal. Their food has a simplicity that is often lacking in our culture. Polenta was a food that was on a lot of Italian menus and I happen to love it. As soon as I got home, I started working on my new favorite fall comfort food, which I have been eating on repeat. Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta with Roasted Tomatoes and Crispy Mushrooms.
Disclaimer, I have been making goat cheese polenta for many years. In fact I’ve been making it for so long that I can’t even remember where I learned all about it. It is great with beef roast, shredded pork, short ribs, tomato sauce, and I’m sure a million other things. The goat cheese gives it a subtle but complex flavor that pairs well with any savory topping.
This particular creamy goat cheese polenta takes two simple, seasonal ingredients and makes them shine.
Now I know what you are saying…mushrooms…not mushrooms…they are slimy and gross. But these mushrooms are neither. Roasting them keeps all of their umami and actually makes them crispy.
Pair that with the sweet goodness of roasted tomatoes and you have yourself a simple vegetarian meal perfect for Meatless Monday, or really any meal! All of the textures, all of the flavors, all of the goodness.
So go ahead, make yourself this dish, or better yet, make it for someone else!
Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta with Roasted Tomatoes and Crispy Mushrooms
This is the ultimate in fall comfort food. Full of flavor and texture this is perfect for an easy meatless dinner.
Goat Cheese Polenta
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup polenta
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces mixed mushrooms, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (I used white balsalmic vinegar)
- 12 ounces small tomatoes (cherry or grape)
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Roasted Tomatoes and Crispy Mushrooms
Preheat oven to 400°F. (Use convection if you have it)
Place tomatoes on one baking sheet and place mushrooms on other baking sheet. Drizzle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over tomatoes and 2 Tablespoons olive oil over mushrooms. Place smashed garlic cloves, 2 sprigs of rosemary and 2 sprigs of thyme on baking sheet with mushrooms. Toss to combine.
Remove the thyme leaves from the additional sprigs of thyme and set aside.
Place mushrooms on bottom rack and tomatoes on middle rack. Roast for 30 minutes.
Remove tomatoes (they should be soft and starting to turn brown). Move mushrooms to top shelf and continue to roast for 5 minutes or until crispy (watch during this part so you do not burn the mushrooms).
Remove the mushrooms from the oven. Cool slightly and sprinkle with 1/4 salt.
Goat Cheese Polenta
While the tomatoes and mushrooms are roasting, place the water into a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add polenta slowly while stirring, to avoid clumping. Turn heat down and simmer for 15 minutes until thick and smooth, stirring frequently.
Turn off heat. Add butter and stir until creamy. Break goat cheese into several pieces. Add to polenta and stir until incorporated. Stir in salt. Taste and adjust salt as necessary.
Scoop the polenta onto 4 plates. Top polenta with equal portions of the roasted tomatoes and the crispy mushrooms. Sprinkle the remaining thyme leaves over the plates. Drizzle one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar over each plate. Serve while warm.
Note: This recipe is not the greatest for leftovers. Polenta changes consistency as it cools and the mushrooms lose their crispiness if kept overnight. It is still good, but it is not the same dish.
Note: Salt is important in this recipe. Taste frequently to adjust salt to your taste.
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Tools I used:
Baking Sheets. You can never have too many of these. I have them both in the half size and the quarter size, but for this recipe, I used the half size.
Wooden Spoons. I usually use inexpensive wooden spoons, so when they aren’t looking so good anymore, I don’t feel bad about getting rid of them and getting new ones.
Polenta. I use this polenta from Bob’s Red Mill. Not only is the one that it is the easiest for me to find in the local stores, it cooks up reliably every time.
Sauce pan. A few years ago, I splurged and bought the All Clad pots and pans I had been coveting forever. I love them.
Plates. I am in love with this particular plate from the Magnolia collection by Joanna Gaines. There is just something about it’s rustic farmhouse charm that I love!
Valdirose. This is the Bed and Breakfast that I stayed at on my recent trip to Italy. It is located in Lastra a Signa, just a short train ride from Florence. It is amazing and just thinking about it’s charming rooms and amazing breakfasts makes me want to book a flight right back. Check out their website, and if you’re ever in town, know that Irene and Paulo will welcome you like family. Stay tuned, you’ll be hearing more about this magical place soon!
This book. I found this design book while staying at Valdirose and I had to order it for myself! I love the aesthetic and now want to remodel my entire house. Now. Which isn’t going to happen…sigh. But I can dream as I turn the beautiful pages!