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Polenta & Greens + Cashew Cream Sauce

Ingredients – Cashew Cream Sauce

  • 1.5 cups raw unsalted cashews

  • 3/4 – 1 cup water (depending on how thick or thin you would like) plus more for soaking

  • juice of half a lemon (more if you like a real lemony flavor)

  • Salt to taste

Directions – Cashew Cream Sauce

I try to soak my cashews overnight but in a pinch you could soak them for about 30 minutes and they will be fine. Drain and rinse cashews well and place all the ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until desired consistency.  Try adding fresh herbs to create flavorful color pallets.

cashew 1

Ingredients – Polenta & Greens Smothered in Mushrooms

  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup coarse stone-ground white grits (preferably organic)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mushrooms:

  • 1 lb assorted fresh  mushrooms such as porcini, oyster, chanterelle, lobster, and hedgehog
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

polenta

Directions – Polenta & Greens Smothered in Mushrooms

Make polenta:
Bring water to a simmer in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan. Add grits in a slow stream, whisking until incorporated. Simmer, stirring occasionally with a long-handled whisk or wooden spoon, until liquid is absorbed and polenta is thick and soft, about 30 minutes. (Grits will have a loose, risotto-like consistency.) Remove from heat and stir in cream, cheese, salt, and pepper. Keep warm, covered.

Sauté mushrooms while polenta simmers:
If using porcini, halve if large, then slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. If using oysters, trim spongy base if necessary and slice caps into 1/2-inch-wide strips. If using chanterelles, leave small mushrooms whole, halve if medium, and quarter if large. If using lobsters, cut into 1/2-inch pieces. If using hedgehogs, trim base of stems and halve caps if large.

Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden and any liquid they give off is evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add water, butter, lemon juice, and parsley. Heat, swirling skillet, until butter melts and liquid forms a sauce.

To serve:
Top each serving of polenta with mushrooms and mascarpone. Serve immediately (polenta stiffens as it cools), sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano.