Porcini and Tomato Ragout with polenta


by: Xeno

In northern New Mexico, the porcini appear just as the tomatoes do, in the rainy season of late summer, and a dish that brings them together makes good culinary sense. As good as they are, though, our wild mushrooms don’t seem to have the intensity that Italian porcini possess, so I always include some dried Italian mushrooms in the dish to boost that wild flavor. Without the final addition of Parmesan, this ragout is vegan. Begin this meal with a vegetable salad, such as a shredded salad of many greens, beets with ricotta salata and olives, or warm green beans with an herb vinaigrette. For wine, try an Italian red, medium bodied with acidity—such as a Barbera or Chianti Classico.


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serves: 4

Polenta (Cooked in the Double Boiler)

1/2-1 ounce dried porcini

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary

1 clove garlic finely chopped

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 pounds large fresh mushrooms (ideally porcini or a mixture of different varieties, the gills still closed if possible, thickly sliced)

4 large tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and diced, or 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes)

Parmigiano-Reggiano for grating

Nutrition Facts
Porcini and Tomato Ragout with polenta

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 197

  • Total Fat: 11.2 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 1.6 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 49.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 17.2 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 5 g
  •     Sugars: 10.4 g
  • Protein: 5.7 g

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1.  Start the polenta. Cover the dried mushrooms with 2 cups warm water and set aside for at least 30 minutes, while you assemble and chop the rest of the ingredients. When you’re ready to start cooking, pour the mushroom-soaking liquid through a fine strainer and coarsely chop the reconstituted mushrooms.

2.  Heat a third of the oil in a wide nonstick skillet or braising pan. Add the onion and the drained porcini. Cook over medium-high heat until the onion is well colored, about 7 minutes, then add half the herbs and garlic and work in the tomato paste. Add the wine and let it reduce to a syrupy consistency. Season with salt and pepper and remove to a bowl.

3.  Without rinsing the pan, add the rest of the oil and, when hot, add the fresh mushrooms. Cook over high heat until they start to color nicely, release, and then begin to reabsorb their juices, about 8 minutes. Season them with several big pinches of salt, then add the onion and the tomatoes and pour in the strained mushroom liquid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mushrooms are cooked, at least 15 minutes. If a great deal of juice has been given off by the wild mushrooms, pour it into a separate pan, bring to a boil, and reduce until about 1/2 cup remains. (Whisk in a spoonful of butter if you’d like the added richness.)

4.  Add the remaining herbs and garlic to the ragout. Spoon a mound of polenta onto individual plates, make a depression in the surface, and spoon the mushrooms on top. Spoon the juice around the polenta and grate a little of the cheese over all.

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