Friday, January 11, 2008

Cheesy Polenta with Portobello and Spinach Ragout

I made this dish one night, when I did not feel like eating rice, and had been stuck in a rut with the same ol’ dishes. My husband became a pescatarian (a vegetarian who occasionally eats fish) last April and this really challenged my culinary inventiveness. Occasionally, I have come up with some exciting dishes, this being among Brandon’s new favorites.


2 cups extra fine polenta

4 cups water

1 tbsp butter

¼ cup heavy cream

cup cheddar cheese

2 garlic cloves

¼ cup finely crumbled feta cheese

Pinch of salt

Mushroom and Spinach Ragout:

3 portobello caps, sliced

1 bag of baby spinach

1 red onion

2 garlic clove

¼ cup feta cheese

Extra virgin olive oil

In a medium sauce pan, pour the water and bring to a boil, add the butter too. Season the water with a pinch of salt. Don’t add too much, because the Feta is salty. Next slowly stir in the cornmeal and whisk away. Turn down the heat to about medium low. The trick is to add the cornmeal little by little and continue to stir to avoid clumps. Once the polenta has thickened, (about 3 minutes later) add the cream and whisk it in. Next take a microplane or Garlic press and add the garlic to the pot. Lastly add the cheddar and feta cheese, stir it in well, and turn off the heat.

The first thing I do for the Ragout (hey that rhymed!) is take a damp paper towel and clean off the mushroom caps.You don’t want to run the mushrooms under water because it will make the flesh soggy.Just gently wipe them with the paper towel.Then I trim off the stems and slice the caps.Next take the onions and garlic and dice up.In a large skillet, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the mushrooms.Cook them on medium-high heat until they’re nice and golden brown.Then take them out and set them on a plate.In the same skillet, add the onions and garlic and cook until they become tender.Add the spinach and sauté. Next put the mushrooms back into the pan and mix all ingredients.Take half of the feta cheese and mix in at this time.Serve the polenta on a platter and top with the spinach and mushroom mix.Top the dish with a little crumbled feta and Voila.

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