Polenta Squares with Mushroom Ragu

  • Preparation Time20 mins
  • Cooking Time20 mins
  • Serves36
  • DifficultyEasy
480ml boiling water
45g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
75g quick-cooking polenta
1 tbsp olive oil
230g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
50g chopped onion
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
180ml dry Marsala
1/2 tsp plain flour
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Bring the water, 15g butter, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir constantly until the polenta thickens, about 5 minutes. Pour the polenta into a greased 20 x 20 cm baking tray, spreading so that it is 1cm thick. Cover and let stand at room temperature until set, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onion. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and saute until the juices evaporate, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Add the Marsala. Cover and simmer until the Marsala has reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Stir the flour and remaining 30g of butter in a small bowl to form a paste, then stir the paste into the mushroom mixture. Cover and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir the parsley into the ragu. Season the ragu, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

Cut the polenta into 36 bite-sized squares. Arrange the polenta squares on a platter. Spoon the warm ragu atop the polenta and serve immediately.

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