The chilly winter days aren’t over yet, so I’m squeezing in another cozy winter recipe before spring arrives. My Mushroom Ragu with Parmesan Polenta is a delicious, umami-packed recipe that is super comforting and flavourful. A mix of crimini, oyster, and portobello mushrooms add lots of umami flavour, and this is enhanced by a few other secret ingredients. Served on top of a bed of Parmesan Polenta, and you have a cozy meal any night of the week!
An Umami Flavour Bomb
Umami is one of the five basic tastes on our human palate. It is that delicious savoury flavour that many people enjoy when eating meats, mushrooms, cheese, and some fermented foods. Umami is incredibly satiating and makes a meal feel complete. Plus, when paired with red wine, you have an incredible flavour pairing!
My Mushroom Ragu sauce has incredible umami flavors. Not only do the mushrooms provide this amazing flavour naturally, a few other secret ingredients really add to the depth and complexity of this flavourful sauce:
- Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese: Not only do I add Parmesan cheese to garnish this finished dish, I aslo use Parmesan cheese rinds in the Mushroom Ragu sauce. Parmesan cheese rinds are a bit too tough to eat on their own, but when cooked in the sauce, they release all their flavour and soften up, so you can actually eat them as part of the sauce!
- Soy Sauce: This is a bit of an unexpected ingredient in a traditional tomato-mushroom sauce, but it works so well and adds another layer of salt and umami flavour. You definitely have to try it out to see what I mean!
- Red Wine: Blue Grouse’s Quill Pinot Noir is a delicious flavour pairing with this recipe, and red wine actually has some umami flavours due to amino acids that are found in the wine itself.
- Tomatoes: Believe it or not, tomatoes have a natural umami flavour. This is from a high glutamic acid content in tomatoes which make them taste savoury. No wonder why tomatoes are my favourite!
Pair it With…
I paired this recipe with Blue Grouse’s Quill Pinot Noir 2019. This Pinot Noir has amazing flavour profile, with notes of cherry, berries, baking spice, and forest floor. The wine has a bit of tannins, but is very well rounded…and easy to drink!
You can purchase Blue Grouse’s Quill Pinot Noir online for $27.99, or pick it up from a local liquor store. While you’re at it, try out some other wines from Blue Grouse– they are my favourite winery on Vancouver Island!
Get the Recipe!
Mushroom Ragu with Parmesan Polenta
For the Mushroom Ragu:
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 cups crimini mushrooms sliced
- 1 cup oyster mushrooms sliced
- 1 cup portobello mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Blue Grouse Quill Pinot Noir
- 1 can San Marzano tomatoes pureed
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 inch-cube Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated, for garnish
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley finely chopped, for garnish
For the Parmesan Polenta:
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup polenta (ground cornmeal)
- 1 1/2 cups Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- Heat a large pot and heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, followed by the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so that they don't burn, and then add the salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms for another 5 minutes until they become a light golden brown and have softened.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot, followed by the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the garlic has become fragrant.
- Next add in the wine and deglaze the bottom of the pot, then add in the San Marzano tomatoes, soy sauce, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind, basil, oregano, chili flakes, and sugar. Stir everything to combine then reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- When the Mushroom Ragu is done cooking, make the Parmesan Polenta. Add the chicken stock to a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the polenta and whisk to combine. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to whisk every 30 seconds for 5 minutes, or until the polenta has thickened up.
- Once the polenta is cooked, remove it from the heat and add in the grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, butter, and whipped cream. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- To serve, add a scoop of the Parmesan Polenta to a plate and top with the Mushroom Ragu. Garnish with a sprinkle of extra Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and some chopped parsely. Serve immediately with a glass of Blue Grouse Quill Pinot Noir and enjoy!