Thursday, March 10, 2011

Polenta Squares with Mushroom Ragu

A few months ago I saw a recipe for polenta squares in a magazine.  Ever since then, I've been itching to make them (and eat them).  I was craving pasta for dinner the other day, so I decided I’d also make polenta squares to round out the meal.  I found a recipe from Giada with a mushroom sauce that looked delicious, so I gave it a shot.  

This was so easy to make, and the polenta squares were done in no time.  They tasted pretty good; but to be honest, I much prefer the creamy style polenta (aka lots of heavy cream and why not throw in some cheese for good measure).  Next time, I’ll be making creamy polenta!

 Chopped cremini mushrooms

 Mixing quick cooking polenta with boiling water

 Polenta setting in the pan

 Final product

Bon appetit

Polenta Squares with Mushroom Ragu
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Yield: 36 bite-size hors d'oeuvres (in my case, I cut them into 16 larger pieces)


2 cups boiling water
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup quick-cooking polenta
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup dry Marsala
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves


1.  Bring the water, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to medium-low. 

2.  Stir constantly until the polenta thickens, about 5 minutes. 

3.  Pour the polenta into a greased 9 by 9-inch baking pan, spreading so that it is 1/3-inch thick. Cover and let stand at room temperature until set, about 15 minutes.

4.  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. 

5.  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. 

6.  Stir the flour and remaining 2 tablespoons 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.

7.  Remove from the heat.  Stir the parsley into the ragu. Season the ragu, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

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


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