Deeply earthy and rich, I could cozy up to a bowl of mushroom ragout spooned over creamy polenta any day of the week. This hearty Italian meal hits all the right notes, whether you’re a vegetarian, on a vegetarian-before-dinner diet or looking for meatless Monday inspiration. Roasting the mushrooms first helps to expel their moisture, which in turn allows you to achieve a hard sear and more intense flavor when you make the ragout. Remember, you can’t brown in the presence of moisture. I like to use a finely ground quick cooking polenta for its creamy quality, but use your preferred variety and adjust the liquid amounts as necessary. The mushroom ragout is very versatile—if you have any leftovers, serve it the next day with a poached egg for lunch or toss with pasta for an easy dinner.
- 2 pounds mixed fresh mushrooms (porcini, shiitakes, cremini, chanterelles, morels, trumpets)
- sea salt
- 3 tablespoons safflower oil
- 1/2 cup onion (minced)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- black pepper
- 3 cups vegetable stock (divided, with some additional to deglaze pan)
- 1 cup quick cooking polenta (ex: Savoie brand)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
- 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 stems fresh thyme
- 1 stem fresh rosemary
- 1 shallot (minced)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1/3 cup tomato purée
- 1/4 cup sherry
- 1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon parsley (chopped for garnish)
- parmesan (grated for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Wipe 2 lb. mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. Cut the mushrooms into similar sized pieces so they cook evenly. Keep the morel mushrooms whole, and halve cremini and button mushrooms. Trim individual petals of oyster mushrooms from the central spore cluster, then remove woody stems from shiitake mushrooms and halve. Discard or save unused portions of mushroom for mushroom stock. Place mushrooms into a large mixing bowl.
- Season the bowl of mushrooms with salt. Add 3 Tbsp. safflower oil and toss to coat evenly. Place the mushrooms on a half-inch deep jelly roll pan fitted with a rack (I use a cake cooling rack). Bake in the oven on a center rack for 25 minutes, until browned.
- Meanwhile, start the polenta. Sauté 1/2 cup onions in 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. When the onions are glassy add 3 cups vegetable stock, and bring to a boil.
- Once the stock is at a boil, sprinkle 1 cup polenta over the top and lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Stir frequently to avoid any clumps. After the polenta has cooked for about 5 minutes, add 1/2 cup heavy cream. Cook for another 3 minutes then add 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese. Stir until melted into the polenta, then add 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley. Taste the polenta, then season with salt as necessary. Reserve the polenta over the lowest heat possible while you make the mushroom ragout.
- Remove the mushrooms from the oven. Pour 2 Tbsp. vegetable stock into the jellyroll pan to deglaze any accumulated mushroom bits. Reserve the mushrooms to a bowl. Add 3 Tbsp. butter to a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Strip the leaves off of 2 stems fresh thyme and one stem fresh rosemary, reserve. Mince 1 shallot and 2 garlic coves. When the butter is hot and foaming, add the shallots and garlic to the pan. Cook for 1 minute, then add the roasted mushrooms and sauté until browned.
- Once the mushrooms are starting to brown, add the thyme and rosemary. Cook for another minute then add 1/3 cup tomato puree and stir to combine well. Next, add 1/4 cup sherry, 2 cups vegetable stock and the reserved mushroom juices from the roasting pan. Bring to a simmer and reduce by about half, until the sauce begins to tighten around the mushrooms, about 10 minutes.
- Once the sauce has reduced, add 1 Tbsp. of parsley and stir.
- Scoop portions of polenta into individual serving bowls and spoon the mushroom ragout over the top. Garnish with lemon zest, parsley and a sprinkle of parmesan.
|Calories200Calories from Fat160|
|% DAILY VALUE|
|Calories from Fat160|
|% DAILY VALUE|
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.