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Baked Polenta with Chanterelles and Sage Ragout

Serves: Makes 4 servings


  • 3 cups water
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, finely grated

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ pound chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin
  • ½ pound white mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 (24-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained, reserving juice and chopped coarsely


The combination of creamy polenta, with a cheesy crisp outer shell, and earthy mushrooms is a delicious flavor combination. Make the polenta and mushrooms in advance, so that you are able to quickly put this dish together when your guests arrive.

To make the polenta: In a large, heavy 4-quart saucepan, bring the water with the oil to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and pour in the cornmeal, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture back to a boil, remove from the heat and stir in the butter, Parmesan, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the polenta to a prepared baking dish and chill the polenta for 20 minutes or until it is firm.

When the polenta is firm, cut into desired shape—squares, triangles, or diamonds. Place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and bake until cheese is completely melted.

To make the ragout: In a large, heavy kettle, heat the butter and oil over moderate heat until the butter is melted. Add the onion, and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the mushrooms, sage, and salt and pepper to taste.

Continue to stir the mixture as it cooks until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes with reserved juice and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.

To serve: On a warm plate, add the baked polenta and spoon over the mushroom ragout. Serve immediately.

Recipe developed for Sur La Table’s Cooking Classes

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