This mushroom ragù with ricotta polenta is a rich and flavorful vegetarian dinner recipe that won’t take forever to put together.
Just look at those rich colors in that mushroom ragù! It looks and tastes like all day flavor but it really only takes about an hour or so to make. In fact, most of your time will be spent chopping the mushrooms!
Served on top of a rich and creamy ricotta polenta, this mushroom ragù will be a winning vegetarian dinner recipe in your household.
What kind of mushrooms should I use in mushroom ragù?
That’s the beauty of this recipe – you can use virtually any mushroom you like. Try this recipe out with a mix of:
- Cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
- Shiitake mushroom caps, sliced or diced
- Royal trumpet mushrooms, diced
- Oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
- Maitake mushrooms, torn into bite-sized pieces
- Chanterelle mushrooms, sliced in half
What kind of mushrooms would you use in this mushroom ragù?
How to make this Mushroom Ragù with Ricotta Polenta:
First, you’ll want to prepare all of the ingredients. Chopping and slicing two pounds of mushrooms takes time, so make sure all the ingredients are prepared before you start cooking!
Next, you’ll sauté your aromatics. I used an onion and a baby fennel bulb, but feel free to add diced celery, finely diced carrots, or a copious amount of minced garlic!
From there, sauté the mushrooms. Fry half the mushrooms to start with and allow them to release some liquid for a few minutes and then add the remaining half of the mushrooms to the pan. You will need to cook a solid 10-12 minutes. You want all of the mushrooms to release liquid and then evaporate before moving on.
Next, add in the spices – I use thyme, white pepper, black pepper, a little garlic powder (hey don’t sue me, I didn’t have any fresh garlic!), crushed red pepper, and salt – along with tomato paste. Stir to coat the mushrooms with the paste and seasoning and cook for about 1-2 minutes until the paste deepens in color. Deglaze with wine and then add stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. If your tomatoes are quite acidic, temper them with a bit of sugar.
From there, it’s just a matter of simmering for 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to deepen which is perfect because that’s how much time you need to whip up your polenta!
While the mushrooms are cooking, prepare the polenta. I add ricotta and heavy cream for a rich polenta along with smoked paprika and black pepper. It is absolutely phenomenal and pairs so well with the ragù
Looking for more vegetarian recipes? Check my archives!
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Mushroom Ragù with Ricotta Polenta
- Wide pot
- Medium pot
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil for frying
- 1 yellow onion peeled and finely diced
- 1 small fennel bulb stems trimmed, bulb cored and finely diced; fronds chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter optional
- 2 pounds mixed mushrooms sliced or diced, depending on variety
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper more or less, to taste
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder or use freshly minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper optional
- Salt and a pinch of sugar to taste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes excess liquid strained
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 1 cup polenta or yellow stone ground grits
- 2½ cups vegetable stock or water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup heavy cream or whole milk
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika more or less, to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper more or less, to taste
- Salt, to taste
Cook the Aromatics:
- Heat the oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened and beginning to brown. If using fresh minced garlic, add it now and sauté briefly Season lightly with salt.
Cook the Mushrooms:
- Melt the butter, if using, into the pot. Otherwise, add a touch of oil if needed. Add half the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes until they begin to release liquid. Add the other half of the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-12 minutes until all of the liquid in the pot has evaporated and the mushrooms begin to develop a golden brown crust. Season with salt.
Add the Tomato Paste:
- Add the tomato paste and all of the seasonings except the sugar. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the tomato paste deepens in color.
Deglaze the Pot:
- Pour in the white wine and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and add the stock and whole-peeled tomatoes. Taste and season with a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes are acidic.
Simmer the Ragù
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the liquid is reduced a bit and the sauce is thick and deep red. Gently break the tomatoes up as they cook. Add more stock or water, as necessary, to prevent the ragù from sticking. Taste and season again to your preferences. Right before serving, stir in the chopped parsley and fennel fronds. Turn off the heat.
Cook the Polenta:
- While the ragù simmers, cook the polenta.
- Bring the stock to a low boil and then reduce heat to low. Pour in the polenta, whisking as you add them to prevent lumping. Cook, whisking regularly, for 20 minutes or until the polenta is very tender. Season lightly with salt.
- Add the butter, ricotta, and cream and season with black pepper and smoked paprika. Simmer an additional 5-10 minutes until thickened. Taste and season again to your preferences. Turn off the heat.
- Divide the polenta between shallow bowls and pile the ragù on top. Garnish with more parsley, fennel fronds, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if you like. Enjoy!