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Mushroom Ragu on Parmesan Polenta

Mushroom Ragu on Parmesan Polenta


Step aside beef, this hearty mushroom ragu served on cheesy polenta, is a vegetarian’s dream – guaranteed to warm up any night.

  • Serves: 4-6 |
    4-6 servings
  • Rating:

  • Difficulty:

  • Prep Time : 30 mins |
  • Cook Time : 2:0 hours
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Mushroom Ragu

olive oil for frying
1 large onion, chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
600 g mixed mushrooms (portabellini, shitake, shimeji and oyster)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 red chillies, chopped
1 Tbsp (15 ml) picked and chopped thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary, picked and chopped
1 C (250 ml) Durbanville Hills Merlot
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of water
2 Tbsp (30 ml) balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 ml) sugar
a big knob of butter
2 Tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp (30 ml) chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper 


1 C (250 ml) fine polenta
4 C (2 l) water
1 C (250 ml) milk
½ C (125 ml) Parmesan cheese
¼ C (60 ml) butter
salt and pepper

Mushroom Ragu

Set a large pot over medium-high heat. Heat a glug of olive oil then add the onion, celery and carrot. Fry until the veggies begin to soften and brown. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their water and start to fry. Fry until the mushrooms begin to caramelise. 

Add the tomato paste, garlic, chilli, and herbs and fry for 2 minutes until fragrant. Deglaze the pot with the wine and bring it to a boil, then reduce by half. 

Next add the tomatoes, water, balsamic vinegar and sugar and stir well to combine. Pop the lid on and let the ragu simmer away slowly for 1 hour. After 1 hour remove the lid and continue simmering to reduce the liquid slightly until you have a silky ragu. Finish it off by adding in the butter, fresh chopped herbs and seasoning to taste. 


Pour the water and milk into a medium-size pot, then add the polenta. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil while stirring. Reduce the heat to a simmer then put a lid on. Stir the polenta every 5 minutes with a spatula and be sure to clean the sides and the bottom of the pot well. Repeat this for a total of 30-40 minutes or until the polenta is soft and creamy. 

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and butter until combined. Put the lid back on and let the polenta sit for at least 5 minutes.

Season the polenta to taste and then serve topped with a generous portion of mushroom ragu. Garnish with extra freshly chopped herbs and Parmesan.