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January 21, 2014 by Johanna Burani

Polenta with Buckwheat and Mushrooms

I know. I’ve been gone for nearly six months. Well, not really “gone” – just away from my computer and my website. I had shoulder surgery during the summer. For a while, I couldn’t drive, see my patients, or use my computer. And I couldn’t cook. I couldn’t even open up the refrigerator door! Doctor’s orders.

I’m one of those people who needs both of her arms and hands to function well. So, now that I have full use again of my repaired arm, I’ve succeeded in catching up with professional and other responsibilities that had been put on hold.  That means I’m back to share with my virtual friends some of my wholesome, home cooked, low glycemic Italian dishes.

Today it is snowing in New Jersey and the temperature outside is 22 degrees Fahrenheit.  What better day to cook up some steaming polenta? Here’s a recipe for you.

Polenta with Buckwheat and Mushrooms
My husband, Sergio, grew up in the small northern Italian city of Reggio Emilia. His family had the custom of eating polenta every time it snowed. All were happy on polenta days, not only because his mother made this peasant food taste like a feast for kings, but also because the lengthy cooking time (40-plus minutes) provided extra heat in the house. He tells the story of his blind grandmother, who lived with them, who knew when it was snowing by how warm she felt sitting in her chair in the kitchen. Polenta is as versatile as pasta or rice. Here I have added some buckwheat flour to lower this form of corn’s moderately high GI value. You can top with sausage or ragu, cheese or any combination of vegetables and herbs. Pick your favorite flavors and pile them on top of some steaming polenta. My guess is you won’t want to wait for the snow to return to try it again!
Created by:
Cuisine: Italian
Recipe type: Vegetarian Entree
Serves: 8 (16 as side dish)
  • 2 cups (280 g) dry coarse polenta
  • 1 cup (120 g) organic buckwheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) kosher salt
  • 1 oz (30 g) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 10 oz (300 g) mixed fresh mushrooms (crimini, white, baby portabella)
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots (4 oz/120 g), thinly sliced
  • 5 fresh sprigs (1/2 teaspoon/2.5 g dried) thyme
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 2 oz (60 g) Gruyere cheese
  1. Bring 8 cups (1.9 l) of water to a boil.
  2. In the meantime mix the polenta and buckwheat flour in a medium bowl. Stir in 2 cups (0.5 l) warm water and mix thoroughly. When the water is boiling, add in the salt and the polenta mixture. Stir, cover and simmer very slowly for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes to prevent the bottom from sticking. The polenta will become thick and creamy as it cooks.
  3. In the meantime, place the porcini in a small bowl and cover them with 2 cups (0.5 l) warm water. Set aside.
  4. Wash, pat dry and coarsely chop the fresh mushrooms. Set aside.
  5. In a large pan, heat the oil then add the shallots. Saute’ on medium-low flame until translucent (about 8 minutes).
  6. Drain, rinse and pat dry the porcini, coarsely chop. Add to the mushroom mixture in the pan, saute’ for 5 minutes. Add the thyme and cook for another 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.
  7. When the polenta is done, remove it from the heat. Pour half the amount in the pot onto a wooden board, pat into a round mound. Add the mushroom mixture (warmed) on top of the mound, then cover with the remaining polenta. Sprinkle on the cheese. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 276 (Joules: 1,155) Fat: 7g Saturated fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 37g Fiber: 6g Protein: 10g



Please leave your comments, or ask a question:

Gushers vs Tricklers

"Gushers" are quickly-digested carbohydrates that cause a rapid rise in blood glucose and fuel appetite.

"Tricklers" are slowly-digested carbohydrates that are gradually released into the bloodstream and sustain satiety. These are the good carbs.

Johanna Burani
Nutrition Works LLC
Morristown, NJ, USA

Expert in individualized, low-glycemic index (low GI) meal planning.

This book tells the complete story


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© Sergio Burani
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