Is there anything more appetizing than these colorful polenta squares topped with creamy mushroom ragu and perfectly melted cheese??
And while it got you thinking I bet your mouth is watering.
Like always, here some of the tricks to make your polenta squares easier, tastier and all around irresistible.
Polenta / Cornmeal
Classic polenta usually cooks in 30-40 minutes and requires 95% of supervision (aka stirring and whisking). But it certainly pays off with the final taste! Especially if you get coarse-ground cornmeal.
If you’re short on time or just don’t feel like it’s a good use of your time you have 2 more options to go with.
- Choose high quality instant polenta.
- Buy ready to use precooked tube of polenta. If you get tubed polenta just cut it into rounds and you’ll have polenta rounds instead of squares 🙂
You can use any kind of fresh mushrooms and even use Funghi Trifolati – Sauteed Mushrooms Italian Style you happen to have any leftovers. Just hit them up and add some extra cream following the recipe below.
For best flavor use a mix of mushrooms.
If you happen to have simple white button mushrooms I love to add a tablespoon of dried ground porcini. They boost the flavor 100x!
My first choice is of course Asiago Cheese: super creamt, soft and delicate.
But if you can’t find it or just want to try other options you’re welcome to experiment. A mix of shredded cheese usually looks and tastes great too.
I also love to use my
They add more creaminess to bites and it’s a great way to consume that sauce leftovers!
When assembling polenta squares simply top mushrooms with this sauce and sprinkle with some more cheese.
And you are DONE! 🙂
Baked Polenta Squares With Mushroom Ragu & Cheese
- 1 cup polenta or cornmeal
- 4 cups water or vegetable stock , use mushrooms or chicken stock if you like
- 1 oz butter , approx 30 g
- ⅔-1 cup Parmesan cheese , grated
- Pinch of salt
For Mushroom Ragu:
- 2 lb mushrooms (whole or sliced), approx 900 g
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1 pinch of chili flakes
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- Handful of fresh parsley , chopped
- ¼ cup cheese (optional)
- Salt , pepper to taste
- Asiago Cheese shredded
In a large pot bring water/stock to boil with a generous pinch of salt.
Once water is boiling, slowly pour in polenta whisking continuously to prevent any lumps.
Reduce heat to low and continue to whisk until polenta is thick and starts to come off the sides of the pot. Check directions on the package for approximate cooking time. Different kinds of polenta cook anywhere between 5 and 40 minutes.
Once polenta is cooked, add butter and grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well.
Lightly oil or line with a parchment paper 13×9 inch baking pan.
While polenta is still hot spread it evenly in the baking pan.Let cool.In the meantime prepare mushrooms.
Prepare Mushroom Ragu
If you got a pack of already sliced mushroom, skip step 1 entirely and start from step 2.Briefly clean the mushrooms under the running cold water, dry gently with a paper towel. Remove most dirty and external parts of the stem.
Depending on the type of mushrooms slice them lengthwise.
Place a large skillet pan over medium heat.
Add olive oil, butter, chili flakes, chopped parsley and garlic cloves crushed with a flat knife or minced if you like more pronounced garlic flavor. Saute for a minute or two.
Add sliced mushrooms and stir everything together. Mushrooms will release liquid. Continue cooking for another 5-6 minutes until all the linquid is gone.
Add heavy cream and simmer for another few minutes until creamy. Add some cheese if you like.
Assemble Polenta Squares
Once polenta is completely cool cut it into bite size squares.
Arrange polenta squares ½ inch apart on a clean baking pan line with parchment paper.
Top each square with mushroom ragu and grated Asiago cheese.
Bake in a preheated to 375/ 190 oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted.Serve hot or warm.