Cheesy Polenta with Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, Kale, and Egg

Cheesy Polenta 3 The Curvy Carrot


There’s this amazing brunch place in Milwaukee that is thankfully within walking distance from my apartment.  So I’ve taken everyone and their brother (literally) to this place on Sunday mornings when they are in town for a weekend visit. Before I started sampling their sweet breakfast dishes (ummm, yes, I’ll take some fresh beignets with kahlua chocolate sauce), I fell in love with this great, savory dish on their menu.   I got it very single time I went (which was a lot).  It was polenta with mixed sautéed vegetables, creamy hollandaise sauce, and a poached egg on top.   They stopped serving it about a year ago which is the reason why I ventured over to the sweet side, but I still miss it.

Let’s be honest here:  I put poached eggs on pretty much anything (like this or this or this).  I’m not going to lie.  They are quick, relatively simple to make and filling. I also have this strange theory that if I eat eggs in the evening, I sleep better. (Yes, I know; it’s weird.)

And since I don’t usually have the time to make a nice hollandaise sauce from scratch every weekend (for a great recipe, click here), I thought I would come up with my own twist on this heavily inspired dish.  I’ve made it a few times, sometimes using instant polenta or trying different combinations of vegetables.  Use whatever you have on hand.  Of course, to cut down on the calories, you can make the polenta sans cheese (but, why? oh why?).  And if you like an especially creamy polenta, add in some butter or milk to make it the consistency you desire. You don’t have to eat this as breakfast either-I think it makes a great weeknight meal.


Cheesy Polenta 2 The Curvy Carrot



Cheesy Polenta with Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, Kale and Egg

Servings: about 4



For the polenta:

4 and 1/2 cups water

1/2 tablespoon salt

1 and 1/4 cups coarse grind cornmeal (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)

1-2 ounces of Gruyere, grated (or whatever kind of cheese you like)

For the vegetables:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

Pinch salt

8 ounces mushrooms (I used baby bella, sliced)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 head kale (whatever variety you like), stems removed and coarsely torn

4 eggs, poached

Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, grated (optional)


Cheesy Polenta 1 The Curvy Carrot




1. For the polenta:  In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat.  Meanwhile, start caramelizing your onions (see below).

2.  Add in the salt.

3. Slowly whisk in the polenta until smooth.  Reduce the heat to low and cook until the polenta is thickened and creamy, about 15 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the Gruyere cheese, stirring until completely melted.  Set aside (but keep the polenta warm.)

5. For the vegetables:  In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering.

6. Add the onion slices and a pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring the onions frequently, until they are golden and caramelized, about 10-15 minutes.

7. Add in the mushrooms, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have let off some of their moisture and have softened, about 5 minutes.

8. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

9. In batches, add the kale and stir until it wilts.

10. Divide the polenta between your servings bowls and sprinkle with the Parmesan Reggiano (if using).  Top the polenta with the mushroom mixture.  Place a poached egg (or two) on top, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Enjoy.


Source:  A Curvy Carrot original.

April 3, 2014 - 7:18 am

Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen - This is my kind of comfort food through and through! I love every single thing about this meal. I used to make something similar when I was at a loss for dinner ideas….definitely have to through this into the rotation more often.

April 3, 2014 - 11:42 am

John Ptacek - Hi. I live in Milwaukee. Where is this groovy restaurant?

April 3, 2014 - 11:43 am

srlacy - Hi John-

It’s Cafe Benelux, in the Third Ward.

April 3, 2014 - 1:39 pm

Coleen @ The Redhead Baker - This looks delicious — a welcome alternative to the monotonous lineup of oatmeal, cold cereal and bagels.

April 3, 2014 - 3:12 pm

Eileen - I just wish I could have a big plate of this for lunch right now! That beautiful runny egg yolk with creamy polenta sounds fabulous.

April 3, 2014 - 10:21 pm

Joanne - Cheese, veggies, and eggs over polenta is one of my favorite go to meals! There’s just nothing you can do to make it taste bad. It’s the best!

April 7, 2014 - 10:10 am

Meagan - Mmmmmm… Cafe Benelux is delicious!

Cherry Yogurt Coffee Cake

1 Cherry Yogurt CC The Curvy Carrot

I have my younger sister to thank for a recent onslaught of nightmares.

Does anyone else out there watch The Following on Fox?  I know this might be completely random, but not only is this show addicting, but it’s completely nightmare-provoking as well.  My sister recommended it (and I usually like what she likes, so I gave it a shot.) I’m usually one who avoids horror movies or anything of that type of genre (why increase my already-high baseline stress levels by voluntarily watching something that will send my blood pressure through the roof?), but I got sucked into this show one weekend while doing some major spring cleaning of my apartment.  You would think that I might have the discipline to just stop watching it, since I’ve been a little spooked while walking the dog before bed or in the middle of the night when I hear a funny sound, but I just can’t.   Maybe I secretly love this kind of thrilling sense of fear, I don’t know.  But it’s an interesting show, to say the least.  Which makes me wonder why there are so many shows out there featuring serial killers.  And then I get spooked because I live in Milwaukee, where one of the most notorious serial killers was active.  I don’t get it.  Maybe it’s rooted in my history of forensics, and I’m bringing up bits and pieces of the crazy things I’ve seen firsthand (not food blog appropriate).  I’ve got some pretty interesting stories, though (why those things didn’t give me nightmares and how a fabricated, acted story does is a good question.)

Which makes another random segue into this recipe, I know.

I wanted something sweet and warm for breakfast one morning, and since I had some Greek yogurt in the fridge, this recipe fit the bill.  You can use fresh or frozen fruit here (I used Earth Bound Farm’s frozen pitted sweet cherries).  And, honestly, you can use whatever kind of fruit or combination thereof that you like.  Since I was using cherries, and I love a cherry-almond combination of any sort (see here  or here), I added in some almond extract for both the batter and the glaze.  If you aren’t after this kind of flavor profile, just substitute in some vanilla.

Serve with some coffee or warm tea, and it will make any bad nightmare disappear.  :)


3 Cherry Yogurt CC The Curvy Carrot

Cherry Yogurt Coffee Cake

Servings: Makes one 13×9-inch pan



For the streusel:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour

For the filling:

One 10-ounce bag frozen sweet pitted cherries, thawed

For the batter:

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/4  teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups white whole wheat flour

For the glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk (I used skim)

1 teaspoon almond extract



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Generously spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray.

3. For the streusel:  In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a medium bowl using an electric handheld mixer), beat the butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon and vanilla, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

4. Reduce the mixer speed and add in the flour, beating until small, coarse crumbs form.  Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl and clean out your mixer bowl.

5. For the coffee cake: In the bowl of your standing mixer still fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and brown sugar, until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.

6.  Add in the eggs, yogurt, almond extract, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

7. Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and evenly spread the cherries (or other fruit) over the batter, slightly pressing in the cherries.

8. Sprinkle the prepared streusel over the cherries evenly.

9.  Bake for about 40 minutes or so, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

10. For the glaze:  In a small bowl (or again, using your mixer-I know-lots of mixing here), beat together the powdered sugar, milk, and almond extract until smooth.

11. Once the coffee cake has cooled for about 30-40 minutes, drizzle glaze evenly over the top.

Source:  Adapted from King Arthur Flour Company.

April 1, 2014 - 2:01 pm

Maria Tadic - This looks awesome! I love cherries! Think the filling would get too soupy if I added in chocolate chips?? Because cherries and chocolate are awesome!

April 1, 2014 - 4:32 pm

srlacy - Hey Maria-

I love the way you think! Add in that chocolate-what a great idea!

April 1, 2014 - 5:46 pm

Carol at Wild Goose Tea - Now that was some segue. Laughing. I am a heavy duty coffee cake maker. I am also a real believer in having yogurt in the dough. BUT I don’t normally use whole wheat flour. So this is I have to try. Of course cherries make everything delicious—–

April 1, 2014 - 10:23 pm

Joanne - I find it really hard to watch scary/gruesome stuff before bed otherwise I have very very vivid nightmares. And yet I find myself in the middle of Breaking Bad. No idea how I get any sleep at all.

Cherry and almond are such a perfect pair! I would love them for breakfast in this cake.

April 2, 2014 - 7:03 am

Erin - Looks delightful! Quick question though, was room temperature butter used?

April 2, 2014 - 2:43 pm

srlacy - Hi Erin-

FOr the streusel, I believe I used slightly chilled butter. And for the batter, I used butter that I had left out at room temperature for about one hour prior to baking (it may not have been exactly room temperature, but it was not chilled.) Hope this helps!

April 2, 2014 - 3:58 pm

Helen @ Scrummy Lane - This would definitely make any nightmare go away! Beautiful!

Spaghetti al Vino Bianco


5Spaghetti Al Vino Bianco The Curvy Carrot


I have been craving all sorts of pasta dishes. I had planned on making some glorious fettucine alfredo with some homemade alfredo sauce, and then something incredibly ironic happened. I bought some fresh Parmesan at the grocery store, and it ended up rolling out of the grocery bag in the back of my car on my way home.  I didn’t realize this (as it was the only thing that rolled out), so when I went to make some more homemade alfredo sauce (which needed way more Parmesan than I had), I ended up swearing just a bit (ok, a lot) because I couldn’t find it in my fridge.  I found my receipt where I noticed I had been charged, so I just sucked it up and figured something else out on the fly with the full idea of hopefully getting a refund on the next trip to the store.  So, the other night, as I was loading the car after a “heavily productive” trip to Target (are trips to Target ever not productive?), I realized the Parmesan was just sitting there, all nicely wrapped and innocent-looking (I embellish.)  I had to laugh.  Because what actually came out of this pseudo loss of the Parmesan ended up with a pretty nice and filling pasta dish substitute.

This pasta is made with lots of white wine (with enough left over for a couple of glasses with dinner).  And cheese.  And lots of other good things, like artichokes and kalamata olives.  Oh, and pine nuts.  Throw in some fresh spinach and a few sun-dried tomatoes and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent meal.  It’s quick enough for a weeknight meal and makes enough for a few days’ worth of leftovers, too.  Add in what you like, omit what you don’t (omit the cream and Parmesan for a vegan version)-that’s the beauty of the simple white wine base here (use a drier white wine)  I halved the recipe with a ton of pasta leftover (I’m posting the halved recipe here.  If you are serving a small army, just double all of the ingredients.)  Enjoy.  With extra Parmesan on top.


1Spaghetti Al Vino Bianco The Curvy Carrot



Spaghetti al Vino Bianco

Servings:  about 4



1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Red pepper flakes, to taste

1/2 bottle of dry white wine, divided

One 14.1-ounce can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1/2 pound (8 ounces) whole-wheat spaghetti

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 and 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted


6Spaghetti Al Vino Bianco The Curvy Carrot




1. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, in a separate pan filled with salted water, cook the spaghetti until flexible but not fully cooked, about 4 minutes (reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water for later possible use) .

2. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the sauté pan, cooking until the garlic is fragrant and lightly golden, about 1 minute.

3. Add 3/4 cup of the white wine and increase the heat to medium-high, stirring occasionally.  Cook until the wine is reduced to about 1/4-cup, about 5 minutes or so.

4. Add the salt, and stir until combined.

5. Add the half-cooked spaghetti to the sauté pan, and, using tongs, lightly coat the spaghetti with the wine mixture.

5. Add the remaining wine, about 1/4-cup at a time, stirring after each addition.  Add in the artichokes, olives, and sun-dreied tomatoes, stirring to thoroughly combine.  Cook the pasta until it is al dente, adding some of that reserved pasta water if necessary.

6. Add the spinach in small batches, stirring after each addition, until all the spinach is added and wilted. (Again, add some of that pasta water if the pasta looks a bit dry.)

7. Add the heavy cream and Parmesan, stirring until combined.

8. Divide the pasta among your serving bowls and sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Source:  Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

March 27, 2014 - 10:43 am

Abbie @ Needs Salt - This dish looks so delicious! I love all the different colors and flavors going on.

March 27, 2014 - 1:09 pm

Katrina @ WVS - I absolutely love all the wine in this – it looks great! I’ve been craving pasta like mad as well – trying this!

March 27, 2014 - 6:31 pm

Joanne - I have a HUGE bottle of white wine in the fridge that needs using up, so I’m super excited about this recipe! So few recipes out there use enough to make a dent in a bottle, but this is really the exception!

March 29, 2014 - 7:31 am

Helen @ Scrummy Lane - Your description of this totally sold it to me! Love the wine and Mediterranean flavours. It looks almost like an ‘expensive’ dish, as if you ordered it in a restaurant. That’s got to be a good thing, hey?!

March 30, 2014 - 4:15 am

pizzarossa - This looks sooooooo good! Pinned!

March 30, 2014 - 5:31 pm

Laura Anna - I made this today and it’s so good!

April 8, 2014 - 5:00 am

Cheesy Roasted Garlic Bread » The Curvy Carrot - [...] bread was sort of an after-thought accompaniment to this pasta dish.  I had originally planned on making some garlic bread for a side and had even roasted a giant [...]