Erica's Kissable Polenta with Wild Mushrooms - thumbprint cellars

Luscious as soft kisses, polenta layered with Fontina, Parmesan and wild mushrooms pairs perfectly with pinot noir.

Servings: 6-8

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Pair With: The 2009 thumbprint cellars Pinot Noir, Nugent Vineyard, Russian River Valley

Source: Recipe and photo courtesy Erica Lindstrom-Dake, thumbprint cellars.


4 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, in three parts
1 1/2 cups coarse or medium cornmeal
3 tablespoons olive oil, in three parts
3/4 teaspoon dried sage, in three parts
7 tablespoons grated Parmesan, in two parts
2 tablespoons butter, in two parts, plus extra for greasing
1 1/2 pounds mixed wild mushrooms; chanterelles, porcini and shiitake, sliced thin, in two parts
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, in two parts
6 ounces fontina, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup thumbprint cellars' Pinot Noir Nugent Vineyard, Russian River Valley, in two parts


Heat the oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Add the cornmeal in a slow stream, whisking continuously. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the sage. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until very thick, about 20 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan.

Meanwhile, butter an 8-by-12-inch baking dish. In a large frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add half the mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and sage, 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper and ½ cup thumbprint cellars' pinot noir. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are golden, about 5 minutes. Remove. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms, 1 tablespoon each butter and oil, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and sage, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and ½ cup thumbprint cellars' pinot noir.
Pour half the polenta into the baking dish and spread in an even layer. Top with half the mushrooms, followed by half of the fontina and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining polenta, mushrooms, fontina, and Parmesan. Bake until the cheese is bubbling, about 15 minutes.
Garnish with micro greens and pine nuts, if you like!

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Chef's Notes:

The Story Behind the Recipe's Title:
thumbprint cellars' owners and winemaker, Erica & Scott Lindstrom-Dake have been vegetarians for many years, but it wasn't always that way. Erica has been a vegetarian for over 25 years and when she and Scott started dating she told him she wouldn't kiss him anymore if he continued to eat meat. Scott immediately became a vegetarian, and they're still kissing today.  This is one of their favorite dishes to share over a kiss.

Recipe Courtesy Of

Thumbprint Cellars

At Healdsburg’s Thumbprint Cellars, Proprietor/Winemakers Scott and Erica Lindstrom-Dake bring a hip and stylish new meaning to the phrase the “art of winemaking.”