If it's simple comfort you crave, look no further than this creamy polenta. Polenta is a hearty Italian porridge made from cornmeal that serves as a canvas for all sorts of flavors. Our version is infused with nutty Parmesan cheese and topped with meaty cremini mushrooms and jammy sun-dried tomatoes. Finished with fragrant toasted pine nuts, this is just the kind of satisfying meal you want, and it just so happens to be low in calories.
Cut mushrooms into ⅓" slices. Peel and halve shallot. Cut into ¼" slices. Carefully ladle out ½ cup boiling water and add to a small mixing bowl with sun-dried tomatoes. Keep water boiling. Set aside to rehydrate.
Toast the Pine Nuts
Place a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add pine nuts to dry, hot pan and toast while stirring until golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Transfer pine nuts to a plate. Reserve pan; no need to wipe clean.
Cook the Polenta
Pour polenta in a steady stream into remaining boiling water while whisking. Continue whisking over medium-high heat until polenta comes to a boil, 1-2 minutes. Whisk Parmesan cheese (reserve a pinch for garnish), half the butter (reserving remaining for sauté), ½ tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper until fully incorporated. Remove from burner. Taste and add more salt if desired. Polenta should be thick and creamy. Cover and set aside.
Start the Sauté
Return pan used to toast pine nuts to medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and mushrooms to hot pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, 3-5 minutes. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 1-2 minutes.
Finish the Sauté
Add sherry to pan and cook until mostly reduced, 2-3 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes and rehydrating liquid and cook until mostly reduced, 3-5 minutes. Remove from burner and add spinach, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper, and remaining butter. Stir together until butter is incorporated and spinach is wilted.
Plate the Dish
If polenta gets too firm while sitting, whisk in water 2 Tbsp. at a time over medium heat to loosen. Place polenta on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Top with mushroom and sun-dried tomato sauté and sprinkle with pine nuts. Garnish with reserved Parmesan.