Assorted mushrooms cooked down with marsala wine served on top of rich and creamy cheesy polenta makes for a great weeknight meal.
My son is a few months shy of his third birthday and has just starting acting so… weird. He’s still fun and he’s still adorable, but now he’s got all these little mannerisms that are quite bizarre.
He’s currently obsessed with his tongue. It’s always hanging out of his mouth, like he’s showing it off, and I cannot get him to stop licking everything (ew). He’s also started talking in gibberish all the time, even though his vocabulary and knowledge of sentence structure are pretty solid at this point.
I’m confident things like these are just phases that will pass (quickly, hopefully!) and I’m trying to just enjoy the ride, icky licking and all.
But one other current phase that I hope never passes is his love of grown-up veggies. He won’t eat peas or cooked carrots, but the kid cannot get enough brussels sprouts, asparagus, and mushrooms. Not usual, right?
I don’t think I liked mushrooms until I was in my twenties, but John will eat as many as I put in front of him. I’m hoping I never see the day when he changes his mind and pushes them away.
The other night when we sat down to dinner as a family to eat this mushroom ragu with cheesy polenta, I wasn’t sure if John would be interested. He wasn’t a big fan of the polenta, but true to form he enthusiastically gobbled down the mushrooms.
And my husband and I did too! These mushrooms are full of so much wonderful flavor, having been cooked down on the stove top with onions, garlic, marsala wine and chicken stock. Use an assortment of mushrooms for the maximum flavor— like shiitake, oyster, portobello, and crimini.
Serve this mushroom ragu alongside chicken or steak, or scoop it on top of pasta. This time we served it with creamy polenta and I loved the combination. This polenta recipe uses ricotta and parmesan cheese, but you can really use any type of easily-melted cheese.
Mushroom Ragu with Cheesy Polenta
For the mushrooms:
- ¼ cup olive oil (60 ml)
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic , minced
- 1 lb mushrooms (455 grams)
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt , plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup marsala wine (237 ml)
- 2 cup chicken or vegetable stock (475 ml)
- ⅓ cup fresh chopped basil (15 grams)
- Grated parmesan , for serving
For the polenta:
- 3 cups water (700 ml)
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- ¾ cup uncooked polenta or yellow cornmeal (106 grams)
- ½ cup heavy cream (118 ml)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese , at room temperature (8 oz, 226 grams)
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese (50 grams)
- ¼ cup butter (56 grams)
For the mushrooms:
- Pour the olive oil into a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook mushrooms until they have released their moisture and it has evaporated, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the marsala wine and cook, stirring occasionally until all the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated, about 15-20 minutes. Add the fresh basil and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve with polenta or as desired.
For the polenta:
- While the mushrooms are cooking, prepare the polenta. Bring the water to a boil and add the salt. Slowly add the cornmeal/polenta to the boiling water while whisking constantly. Stir in the heavy cream. Return to a boil and then simmer until polenta is softened, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the ricotta cheese, parmesan and butter. Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve immediately. Polenta will solidify as it cools, rewarm to make soft again.