Polenta with Mushroom Ragu

I’ve been a bad blogger! Work, life…everything is hectic right now and I haven’t been able to motivate at night much past a few pins on Pinterest and reading my favorite blogs every evening. You can’t keep me away from Living Like the Kings (she’s expecting baby #2!), Running to the Kitchen, Cupcakes and Cashmere or Sequins and Stripes, to name a few.

I ask for forgiveness in the form of a really delicious vegetarian recipe from last week’s Sur la Table cooking class. Despite not having any motivation to cook, I recreated it tonight with just a few changes. Man do I love polenta. Mike seemed quite pleased as well – he really has been a great sport about my pescatarian/meatless journey. But I do the cooking, so he darn well should be!

Polenta with Tomato and Mushroom Ragu

Ingredients

  • Quick cook polenta (I had the Sur la Table brand on hand)
  • Vegetable broth (I used a vegetable bouillon cube I had on hand)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • 24-ounce can of whole tomatoes
  • Optional: fresh sage and fresh flat-leaf parsley

Prepare the polenta according to the directions using vegetable broth in lieu of water if desired. When it was nearly ready I tossed in about a palm’s worth of shredded Parmesan. If you have one, pour into a small round pan and set in the fridge to form a round polenta loaf. While the polenta sets heat the oven to 350 and grease a baking sheet. Right before the ragu finishes flip the polenta onto the sheet, top with shredded mozzarella and bake until the cheese is melted. I suggest about five – six minutes.

Meanwhile thinly slice your mushrooms if using whole Portobellos or in my case, use the pre-sliced ones from the store. I love cooking shortcuts after a long day at work. Dice the onion, garlic, fresh herbs (if you have them, I did not) and whole tomatoes, reserving the the juice.

To get going on the ragu, melt two tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil over moderate heat. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent, about six minutes. Add the garlic and constantly stir for one more minute. Stir in the mushrooms, sage (I substituted a few shakes of dried rosemary) and add salt and pepper to taste. Keep stirring until everything softens and any moisture evaporates. Add the tomatoes and juice. I like to turn the heat down a bit at this point and just let everything simmer. Keep tasting the sauce and add more salt or pepper if desired. Some red pepper flakes are also delicious for a bit of a kick.

Pull the polenta out of the oven and top with the ragu. Sit back, pour a glass of red wine and savor just how fantastic vegetarian cuisine can taste.

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