PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS WITH POLENTA AND WILD GARLIC PESTO

Spring is in the air and soon the woodlands will be alive with wild garlic. Portobello mushrooms with polenta and wild garlic pesto is a perfect way to capture the flavours of the season. This recipe is from a Quick and Delicious class so it comes togehter very quickly and is a great use for polenta. Quite often poelnta gets a bad rap due to people buying the premade stuff which is pretty bad to say the least. Here we use the grain and show you the basics of preparing polenta from scratch. The polenta can also be poured into a greased baking pan and left to cool, then sliced and reheated for a variety of other uses.

Wild garlic will be with us for the next month, get out there and enjoy the seasons free food.

FOR THE MUSHROOMS

4 large, deep portobella mushrooms
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

FOR THE POLENTA

400 ml vegetable stock
100g polenta
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
50g cheddar, grated or 2 tbsp nutritional yeast for vegan option
1 tbsp olive oil

FOR THE PESTO

60g fresh wild garlic
30g cashews, lightly toasted
100ml olive oil
15g hard Italian cheese, grated or nutritional yeast for vegan option
a pinch of sugar
salt to taste


1. Preheat oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6/ Fan 180C. Remove stems from mushrooms. Combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Brush marinade on mushrooms and set aside.

2. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Slowly stir in the polenta. Whisk until fairly smooth. Reduce heat to low and cook stirring frequently, until quite thick and begins to pull away from the sides of the pot when stirred. Stir in the salt, pepper, basil, cheese and olive oil.

3. Spoon polenta into mushroom caps, if it does not fit all at once. Let cool and top with more polenta.

4.Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until juices are released from the mushrooms. While the mushrooms are in the oven, make the pesto.

5. Sort through the leaves and discard any damaged leaves or coarse stalks. Place in a food processor or in a beaker if using a hand blender with cashews and olive oil. Blend for about a minute or until finely chopped. Fold in cheese, salt and sugar. Taste and adjust seasoning.

6. Top the hot filled mushrooms with wild garlic pesto. Serve with salad.

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