I am very lucky to have my cousin, who happens to be one of my best friends, in the same city as me. (I recently moved to NYC a couple months ago and was pleasantly surprised to find out my cousin was also living in NYC. We have never lived in the same city so it is very exciting for us to be so close to each other).
Anyway back to the story…so my cousin and I like to have dinners together when time permits and I always love cooking for her because she is so enthusiastic and appreciative. I called her this past week confirming our dinner date and asked her if there was anything in particular she wanted me to make (I already had a turkey ragu in mind with creamy polenta) and she said she was fine with anything but she had recently become a vegetarian.
I actually don’t have a huge problem with cooking vegetarian food; I usually eat meatless meals a couple times a week but I already had my mind and heart set on making this yummy turkey ragu. (Did I mention she informed me of her new dietary preference a couple hours before our dinner date?)
Vegetarian on the fly!
I decided to swap out the turkey and do a meatless ragu with a variety of mushrooms and I can guarantee any carnivore will love this dish because it is rich, hearty, and soul satisfying.
Mushroom Ragu with Local Polenta and Fontina
Makes 4 Servings
1 serving = 1 cup = 3 Points Plus
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
- ½ oz dried porcini mushrooms (rehydrated in 1 ½ cups of hot water…save leftover liquid!)
- 4 sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil…also rehydrated in hot water)
- 1 cup leeks, sliced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium bulb of fennel, diced
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 10 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 # of mixed mushrooms (I used creminis, chanterelles, shiitakes, and trumpet royales but use whatever variety you like)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup of white wine
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (secret ingredient)
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- salt and pepper as needed
First you need to rehydrate your porcini mushrooms and sundried tomatoes in hot water. I usually just heat up some water on the stove or microwave until it’s simmering and cover the mushrooms and tomatoes, in separate bowls with the hot water. You’ll want at least a cup and a half of water covering the mushrooms because that water will turn into delicious and beautiful mushroom broth that you will add to your mushroom ragu.
Heat a dutch oven or large pot on the stove over low heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and add your leeks, peppers, fennel, and celery. Allow this to sweat for 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and thyme sprigs and allow to cook for 1 minute.
Turn the heat up to medium and add your mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper.
As I said before I used a variety of exotic mushrooms (I went a little crazy at Whole Foods…it’s hard not to.) Using a variety of mushrooms is awesome because each mushroom has a different flavor, texture, and intensity. Some mushrooms are meatier, some more delicate, chewy, etc. So I urge to try some new mushrooms in this dish.