A Comforting, Flavorful Dish for the Holiday Table

Friend and collaborator Jessica Lasky shares with us a super simple, flavorful and downright cool presentation for a holiday side. Serve this Polenta dish on a serving board for a beautiful family-style vibe. Make it even easier by serving directly on butcher paper at the holiday table.
Pair it with our 2013 Fortuna Vineyard Merlot.
Thank you for the inspiration, Jessica! xo

Creamy Polenta Slabs with Seasonal Vegetable Ragout

We make this recipe during the holiday season because it’s warm and nourishing. We also love it because it’s so unusual and a real twist on what we know and love. I like to riff on what guests expect while still staying true to the holiday season and flavors that we know and love. The other thing I love is that this dish requires us to share and participate in our meal; it becomes a part of our family table that important and we can have a real experience that is lasting and meaningful. And finally, this dish is seriously beautiful.

1 small bag fresh baby arugula
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup freshly grated parmigiana reggiano
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup coarse ground polenta
salt and pepper

½ cup grated parmigiana reggiano
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup whole milk
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ pound wild mushrooms, such as shiitake, chanterelle and hon shimeji
1 small bag baby kale
½ pound chestnuts, roasted and shelled
Salt and pepper

Make the arugula pesto. In a Cuisinart, place all the ingredients. Pulse until slightly chunky but not pureed. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium heat. Add the polenta in a thin stream, whisking constantly. When all the polenta is added, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring now and again, until soft and creamy, about 20 minutes. Add the butter, whole milk and parmigiano. Season again with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Crisp the garlic and the chili flakes on low heat until soft and golden. Add the mushrooms and saute and stir constantly over medium heat until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the baby kale, and chestnuts, turn off the heat and toss until the kale is slightly wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

On a rustic wood plank or large platter, smear the polenta like a large paint stroke. Arrange the sauteed vegetables on top. Drizzle the arugula pesto around and sprinkle parmigiano shavings on top. Serve immediately.