Thursday, September 16, 2010

Polenta with Mushroom Ragout

I recently started perusing the cookbook section at the library and have found it to be a fun way to experiment with new recipes with very little commitment. I adapted this recipe from one of my latest library book finds. We like to have a meatless dinner every now and then. I found the Polenta for a great bargain in the bulk bins at our grocery store. Our 3 year old son had a blast helping me scoop out the vibrant yellow grain and was excited to help cook and eat it, he even asked for seconds!

Shiitake Mushrooms

Recipe (Serves 4)
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup baby bella mushrooms (crimini) sliced
1 cup fresh shiitake mushroom caps, sliced (you may also use dried Shiitake mushrooms, rehydrate per package instructions)
salt & pepper

5 cups water
extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup yellow polenta (cornmeal)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup fat free milk

1. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil, add a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of salt
2. Heat ~1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add garlic and onions and cook until translucent, ~1-2 minutes. Add carrot, celery, bell pepper and a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring, cook about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, reduce heat to medium let saute about 10 minutes.
3. To the boiling water, SLOWLY add the polenta, whisking constantly to avoid any lumps. Add Parmesan cheese, milk and butter and lower the heat. Cook, stirring nearly constantly until the polenta gets thick and pulls away from the sides of the pan, usually about 20 minutes. Don't go too far from the stove, you'll need to stir the polenta often to avoid sticking/burning.
4. Serve hot polenta in soup bowls topped with mushroom ragout.

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