Winter Squash Polenta with a Wild Mushroom Ragout

20 10 2010
My husband kept asking me to come up with some good polenta recipes. So I finally completed his request. This dish used up two winter squashes I had from my Mom’s garden. You can use Butternut, Acorn, Delicata or any other winter squash. Also, you can use any selection of wild mushrooms you like. This can be prepared ahead. Make the polenta and put in the baking dish and then refrigerate. Bake before serving. Saute the mushrooms ahead. Then add in the stock and cream before serving.

2 winter squash, enough to make 2 cups of puree

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

3/4 cup polenta

1/2 cup coarsely grated Comte cheese or other mild melting cheese

2 tbsp butter or EVOO Mushroom and Sage olive oil

Ragout:

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 pound wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced, stems removed on shiitakes

2 small shallots, minced

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable stock

1/3 cup whipping cream

2 tbsp grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the winter squashes in half lengthwise. Scoop out all seeds. Grease a baking dish. Put the squash in cut side down. Pour in enough water to come up about 1/4 inch. Roast in the oven until tender, about 40 – 60 minutes depending on the type of squash. Scoop the tender flesh out and put in a food processor. Puree and season with salt and pepper.

For the polenta: Oil a 2 quart shallow baking dish. Bring milk, stock, and bay leaf to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Bring the liquid back up to a boil. Then slowly add in the polenta while whisking continuously. Turn the heat down to medium low and continue whisking until the polenta thickens and begins to pull away from the sides, about 10 minutes. Stir in the Comte cheese, the squash puree and the butter or EVOO Mushroom Sage olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper. Transfer polenta to baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until the top is golden.

In the meantime, prepare the mushroom ragout. Heat the oil and butter in a large saute pan. Add in the shallots and saute a couple minutes. Add in the mushrooms and saute until they have released all of their liquid. Add in balsamic vinegar and allow to simmer until no liquid remains. Season with sea salt and pepper.

About 10 minutes before serving, heat up the mushrooms, add stock and simmer 1 minute. Add in whipping cream and simmer gently until cream has thickened slightly. Season to taste. (I added a little White Truffle oil to finish it off at the end.)

Slice up polenta and put on plates. Top with Mushroom Ragout. Serve immediately.


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