Grilled Polenta with a Mushroom Ragu

21 Mar

I love it when you take a bunch of ingredients and just throw them together with no rhyme or reason.  This recipe calls for no measuring utensils whatsoever.  I took what I had in the fridge and came up with something pretty special.  I have been finding all sorts of culinary inspiration lately.  It makes me so excited for the approaching CSA season.  I have so many ideas to use with the items I will be getting in my boxes.  This is one of them. 

My supplies:

  • 8 oz package of sliced white mushrooms
  • 8 oz package of sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 smallish cans of diced tomatoes
  • Leftover Pinot Noir
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • dried whole chilies
  • A good handful of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • Fresh Basil
  • S&P to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Shredded Parmesan
  • Store bought polenta (yes I know fresh made is better, but I worked all day)

In a large pan or dutch oven sautee the chopped garlic in olive oil on medium-medium high heat.  How much olive oil?  That’s up to you.  You don’t want to drown the garlic however.  Don’t let the garlic get too brown, it will start to turn bitter.

Once the garlic is sauteed, add in both packages of mushrooms.  Sprinkle with salt to draw out the moisture in the mushrooms.  You will think it needs more liquid, but it does not.  The mushrooms will cook down and you will see quite a bit of liquid in the end result.


When the mushrooms have cooked down add in the two cans of diced tomatoes, juice and all.  Now is when I added a couple of good glubs of the Pinot Noir, the tomato paste and a handful of the dried chilies.  Let that cook down for about 15-20 mins.  Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.

After about 20 mins, add a handful of fresh chopped basil.


Lower the heat and let simmer until thickened.  Letting it simmer and get thick really concentrates the earthy flavors you’ve got going on in the pot.  So good.  Trust me.

While you let your mushroom ragu simmer, prepare to grill your polenta.  What is polenta you ask?  Polenta is basically boiled cornmeal.  You make it similar to how you make grits.  You let it sit in the refrigerator until it is stiff enough to slice.  I prefer to make it myself, but when you work all day and don’t really want to eat dinner at 10 pm you go with the pre-made, store bought stuff.  Shame on me…I know.

Aaaanyways.  Take your polenta and cut it into rounds, squares, what have you.  My polenta came in a log, so I cut mine into 1/2 inch rounds. 

Brush your grill top with olive oil and grill until heated through.  For my grill top, it took about 3-4 mins per side.  Keep an eye on it.  Burnt polenta really doesn’t taste so good.


Aaaaah grill marks.

By now your ragu should be nice and thick and your kitchen should be smelling pretty awesome as well.

Place a piece of grilled polenta on the bottom of your serving dish.  Top with a generous portion of the mushroom ragu and garnish with a chiffonade of basil and shredded Parmesan.  The creaminess of the polenta coupled with the heartiness of the ragu is out of this world. 

The finished product…




Ariel view…


When it’s CSA season, I will use fresh tomatoes instead of canned and Kath’s herbs instead of store bought.  I really cannot wait for the season to start.

Go make now…then leave me comments telling me how you liked it.

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Posted by on March 21, 2009 in mushrooms, polenta, ragu


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