This is an easy, simple but classy recipe featuring creamy polenta and caramelized onions with mushrooms. I like to eat it alongside a baked chicken, it also goes well with a grilled steak.
Having a good polenta recipe in your back pocket is nice because it gives you an alternative to your rice, bread, mashed potatoes starch rotation. It can be dressed up super fancy, or made simply with water and grain. I land somewhere in the middle of that, by keeping it simple enough to pull off while a baby is asking for my attention, but flavorful enough that I want to keep eating it, again and again!
Just a 5 basic ingredients make this creamy polenta & caramelized onions:
- Polenta (either dried or precooked)
- red onion
- fresh arugula
- mushrooms (optional)
I prefer to use dried polenta, but it can be hard to find. The precooked kind that comes in a cylinder tube is more readily available. It is designed to be eaten in slices, but you can easily make it into a creamy polenta by heating some water or milk on the stove and cooking it down until it's back to its creamy state.
I could not find the dried polenta at the market closest to me, so I decided to try cooking it down into a cream. And I'm happy to report that it definitely worked!
The first step is caramelizing the onions, since this will take the longest.
Heat a skillet to medium with some olive oil, and add in your chopped onions.
I love to cook them on the lowest heat settings for a long time. This gets them to be as caramel-y and sweet as they can be. I usually add in mushrooms when caramelizing onions, because the flavors go so well together. But you can leave them out and still have great flavor pay-off.
Add in the mushrooms (if using) when the onions are about half way there. They cook fast so you don't want them in the skillet the whole time that the onions are caramelizing.
You can leave the onions on low heat while you prepare the polenta. If using the precooked polenta, just open the plastic packaging and cut into a few smaller pieces so that it will melt faster.
Heat a medium saucepan on medium heat and add water and polenta. You'll cook the polenta down until it all breaks apart and becomes creamy. This won't take too long, so keep an eye on it. Once it's all separated and creamy, it's time to add the most fun ingredient of this recipe: mascarpone.
I used mascarpone cheese to give it a creamy taste and texture. If you haven't cooked with mascarpone cheese before, you're totally missing out. It works so well when incorporated into creamy dishes and elevates the taste jussssst enough.
Look how CREAMMMY:Print
Simple and elegant creamy polenta cooks up in 20 minutes and goes great alongside chicken or steak.
- 1 package of cooked polenta
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 2 to 2 ½ cups water or milk
- ⅓ cup mascarpone cheese
- salt to taste
- fresh arugula, chopped
Caramelized onions and mushrooms:
- ½ red onion, cut into strips
- 4-5 baby Bella mushrooms, sliced thin
For the Polenta:
- Remove Polenta from packaging and cut into smaller chunks. About 4 or 5 chunks should be fine.
- In a medium saucepan, add butter and turn to medium heat. Add cut polenta and water or milk. Heat and use a wooden spoon to break up pieces. Continue heating until no chunks remain. Polenta should look creamy.
- Add in mascarpone cheese and mix to incorporate.
- Add salt and to taste. I used about ½ teaspoon of salt.
For the Caramelized onions and mushrooms:
- In a nonstick skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onions.
- Use a spoon to move onions around in an even layer in the skillet.
- Lower heat to low.
- Cook onions down. First they will become until translucent, don't stop there! Continue cooking until they turn into a caramel color.
- Add sliced mushrooms and sauté for a couple minutes more or until mushrooms have lost some of their water.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Spoon creamy polenta into bowls.
- Top with caramelized onions and mushrooms and sprinkle top of bowl with chopped fresh arugula for a peppery finish.
- Enjoy 😉
Creamy Polenta will be good for a day or two in the fridge. To. reheat, just put in a saucepan and heat on medium/low. You may need to add a little bit of liquid to get it creamy again.
To make vegan, use water or plant based milk for the polenta and omit the mascarpone cheese. Instead, use vegan cream cheese in the same amounts given.