Recipe Review

This Creamy Polenta with Red Wine Mushrooms Is a Winner

published Dec 5, 2018
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(Image credit: Rabbit and Wolves)

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Lauren Hartmann, the pastry chef behind all-vegan website Rabbit and Wolves, describes her website as “simple yet exceptional vegan comfort food.”

I can’t speak to the vegan aspect, but when it comes to comfort food, it’s hard to beat a creamy bowl of polenta. When I was a kid, my Italian great aunt used to serve made-from-scratch polenta in every possible form, and although she was typically swaddled in a shawl, she had to have some Schwarzenegger-worthy arms from the amount of time she spent stirring it with a wooden spoon.

She never used a recipe — and polenta is simple enough that most home cooks don’t really have to — but it was always perfect. I’ve admittedly made very few attempts at re-creating her go-to Sunday lunch, mostly because Trader Joe’s sells pre-fab polenta in an 18-ounce tube. (Also, if I’m being honest, the last time I tried to make my own polenta, it tasted like what happens if you combine corn meal and Quikrete.)

But Hartmann’s recipe for vegan creamy polenta and red wine mushrooms might make me give it another go, and not just because she used the word “creamy” four times in her intro to the recipe. This decadent-sounding meal only takes 40 minutes to get on the table, because the only prep work it requires is chopping garlic and slicing mushrooms. “[This recipe is] quick enough to be a weeknight meal, decadent enough to be a date night meal,” Hartmann writes, and I’d believe her on both counts.

The baby bella and shiitake mushrooms are sautéed in a half-cup of red wine, which is thickened into a rich, savory gravy that is poured over the (creamy) polenta. And since the recipe only requires four ounces of wine, there’s nothing that says you can’t pour yourself a glass or three while you watch the sauce simmer. I’ll be drinking to my great aunt, to her always-superior polenta, and to her wooden spoon-based workout plan.

Get the recipe: Vegan Creamy Polenta and Red Wine Mushrooms from Rabbit and Wolves

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

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