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Herbed Polenta with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Polenta, a creamy porridge made from cornmeal, has its origins in Italy and started out as a common dish for peasants. This dish spices up traditional polenta with a blend of aromatic flavors, like garlic, thyme and rosemary. Grilled portobello mushrooms add a deep earthy flavor and a hearty texture that is sure to satisfy even the most dedicated carnivore.

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup non-instant polenta or cornmeal
4 cups boiling water
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. crumbled fresh thyme leaves, or 1/4 tsp. dried
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/4 tsp. dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup (1 oz.) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 large Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
Canola oil spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a deep, heavy, oven-safe pot, combine the oil and polenta. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the polenta smells toasty, about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the boiling water carefully. Stir until the polenta is smooth. Mix in the garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.

Bake the polenta, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then stir well. Bake an additional 20 minutes or until the polenta is creamy. While polenta cooks, lightly coat the mushroom caps with canola oil spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill, underside down, on a very hot grill, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until tender all the way through, 4 additional minutes. Divide polenta among 4 dinner plates and sprinkle each with a quarter of the cheese.  Top each serving of polenta with a mushroom cap and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 210 calories, 5g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 32g carbohydrate, 9g protein, 4g dietary fiber, 200mg sodium

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