Mushrooms laid out on a cutting board.

This year has been stressful for everyone, so I’ve decided to do a favorite comfort food recipe of mine this week.


Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 10 min
Total time: 45 min


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup polenta (not quick-cooking)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Handful of fresh Parmesan

Bring liquids and salt to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan, then add polenta in a thin stream, whisking. Cook over moderate heat, whisking, 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cover pan, then cook at a bare simmer, stirring with a long-handled spoon for 1 minute after every 10 minutes of cooking, 45 minutes total. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until incorporated.


I am not even going to try and explain this, but if you look online you can easily learn what mushrooms you can reap yourselves in your local forest. In the New England area many mushrooms grow all over especially Hen of the Woods, Chicken, and Oyster. Once you harvest them yourself they are a great topping to polenta. Clean as many as you have harvested. Sauté in butter or olive oil with garlic, flat leaf parsley, oregano and thyme. Cook about 6-8 minutes. At the end you can make them creamy by adding a half-cup of cream, or even better, crème fraiche, or the diet version just uses a splash of marsala wine.

Ladle the polenta into a dish, cover with mushrooms, top with curly parsley. Open red or white wine and watch the returns.

This is an excerpt from my Traveling iPad e-newsletter series. To receive this in your inbox, click the button belowIf you believe you should be receiving these already, feel free to reach out to


You may be wondering… 
What exactly is Francesca’s Traveling iPad? If you’re new to our e-newsletters, welcome; if you’re not new and have wondered about these monthly emails from The Glimmerglass Festival, let us explain. The Traveling iPad series is a travelogue from Francesca Zambello, Glimmerglass’ Artistic & General Director. Francesca takes us on her adventures directing operas around the world and writes on topics ranging from the arts to the history of places she travels and other anecdotes, closing each e-mail with a delicious recipe for you to try at home. We hope you enjoy these e-mails, and that they offer a glimpse into the artist at the helm of our organization.

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