Mushroom Ragu With Polenta
We may be a little bias, but we really do source some of the BEST locally grown mushrooms varieties from our farmers at The Market. From cremini and white mushrooms to shiitakes, gorgeous organic King Oysters and enoki mushrooms, the flavours, texture and quality of these beauties cannot be overstated!
Because of their "meaty" texture, mushrooms make a fantastic substitute for meat in many traditionally hearty dishes, like ragu, which is an Italian sauce made primarily of ground meat, minced vegetables, beef broth and tomatoes.
This recipe skips the meat and instead uses a combination of our cremini, shiitake and King Oyster mushrooms as the "meaty" component of the ragu in this dish and it is just as flavourful and satisfying without the meat!
You can serve this mushroom ragu on pasta, quinoa, rice or on a bed of polenta as we did in this recipe which we made using our local organic cornmeal from K2 Milling and Handeck Comte cheese from Gunn's Hill in place of the traditional Parmesan cheese.
Give it a try the next time you feel like opting for a meatless meal!
Meet Our Farmers & Producers
Unionville Mushrooms is family owned and operated business that was established in 1972. With their mushroom farm in Stouffville, Ontario, Pasquale Calitri and his son-in-law Ralph Auciello have worked diligently throughout the years to build the name of Unionville Mushrooms to what it is today.
Their cremini and shiitake mushrooms are used in this ragu.
Enviro Mushroom Farm
These King Oyster Mushrooms from Eviro Mushroom Farms are firm and meaty in texture with a delicate, woodsy flavour. Great for BBQing, roasting, grilling, sautéing, or deep frying. They add an extra "meaty" texture to this meatless ragu.
Niagara Vinegar is based in St. Catharines and is part of Hernder Estate Wines and use a very straight forward fermentation process to create their vinegars!
Their baco noir balsamic vinegar is used to add a depth of flavour in this ragu recipe.
We source our locally grown garlic and shallots from Warren Ham at August’s Harvest, one of the largest commercial garlic growers in Ontario. They both add beautiful, fragrant flavour in this ragu recipe.
We've been loving adding Zing's condiments to our recipes lately! They are so incredibly versatile and an easy way to add more flavour to your cooking. We've added their Hakka Chili Crisp and Ooomami seasoning in this ragu recipe.
Alliston's "Golden Dawn" butter is a fantastic butter to use in any kind of preparation from baking to cooking with. It's made using milk from the Niagara and Golden Horseshoe region and provides this polenta with a rich creamy texture.
Gunn’s Hill is a small, artisanal dairy located in Woodstock and run by cheesemaker Shep Ysselstein. Shep crafts small-batch cheeses made with a marked Swiss influence using milk from his family farm. We used their "Handeck" comte-style cheese in the polenta in place of traditional Parmesan.
K2 Milling's cornmeal is used to make the creamy polenta in this recipe. The flavour in K2 Milling's grains are so rich and they mill an amazing diversity of grains with the goal of milling artisanal, high quality grains that retain their unique properties, flavour and nutrition.
The organic 1% milk used to make this polenta is sourced from Harmony Organic, a family owned and operated farm run by Lawrence and Mathilde Andres in Kincardine, Ontario. All their dairy farms share a philosophy of high animal welfare and environmental sustainability and their dairy herds have access to sunshine, fresh air and clean water daily.
For the Mushroom Ragu
- 225g Unionville Shiitake Mushrooms
- 8oz Unionville Cremini Mushrooms
- 170g Tray Enviro Organic King Oyster Mushrooms
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-2 August's Harvest shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (one large shallot or 2 smaller shallots)
- 2 tsp Zing's Ooomami Seasoning
- 1 clove August's Harvest garlic clove, minced
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh Mike & Mike's Organic thyme
- 1 tsp Zing's Hakka Chili Crisp (can sub for 1/2 tsp red chili flakes)
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Niagara Baco Noir balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
For the Polenta
- 2 tbsp (30 g) salted Golden Dawn butter
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Handeck Comte cheese
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup Harmony Organic 1% milk
- 1 cup K2 Milling cornmeal
This recipe, like many, goes so smoothly if you have all your components prepped before you start cooking. Peel and and finely dice your shallots, mince your garlic and thyme and clean and cut your mushrooms into bite sized chunks about a 1/2 inch by a half inch.
Next, start cooking your polenta. In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine your milk, water and salt and bring to a boil. Gradually add your cornmeal in while whisking. Once all your cornmeal is added, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the polenta and let simmer, stirring occasionally until it is thick and fluffy (about 30 minutes).
While your polenta is cooking, get started on your mushroom ragu. In a medium to large skillet, add your olive oil and allow to heat slightly over medium-high heat. Add your diced shallots and a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent, stirring frequently, You want the shallots to be soft but not browned.
Add your mushrooms to the pan and mix them in with the shallots. Season with Zing's "Ooomami" seasoning and allow to cook for about 5-8 minutes until the mushrooms are soft, begin to caramelize and the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates.
At this point, add your minced garlic, thyme, Hakka Chili Crisp, tomato paste, Niagara balsamic vinegar and Golden Dawn butter and sauté until combined Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and stir until the mixture becomes nice and saucy. If the mixture looks thick, add more water to thin it out. If it looks too thin, cook longer to allow the sauce to reduce.
Remove from heat and set aside. Check on your polenta, if should be fairly thick and fluffy. If it is still fairly liquid, continue to cook, stirring occasionally. Once done, remove it from the heat and add in your butter and Handeck Comte cheese and whisk until combined.
To serve, spoon a generous helping of polenta to the base of your plate. Top with the mushroom ragu and grate some additional comte cheese over the top of the dish. Serve immediately and enjoy!