Polenta is a staple in Northern Italian food. In this recipe, it serves as a base for a rich mushroom sauce.
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees . Place polenta in an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish and stir in 31/2 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
2. Place porcini in a small bowl; cover with 1 cup very hot water. Soak for 15 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and chop; set aside. Reserve mushroom soaking water.
3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook shallot 3 minutes. Add white mushrooms to pan; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook 7 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk chicken broth, chopped porcini, mushroom liquid and diced tomatoes into skillet. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Spoon mushroom sauce over polenta.