Polenta, Italy’s version of cornmeal mush, has become chic. Friends who were brought up eating polenta and pasta in Italian-American families look on this sudden popularity with hilarity: “Polenta and macaroni—my grandmother made them because they were cheap and filling. I swore that when I grew up, I’d never eat polenta again!”
In this recipe, the polenta and mushroom sauce can each be made completely in advance, then quickly combined at serving time. Use the mushroom liquid in the sauce to bring out the mushrooms’ earthy flavor.