Baked Polenta with Wild Mushroom Ragu

This recipe is courtesy of Barbara Lynch a very special friend and 2003 James Beard Award Winner for Best Chef in the Northeast.

For the Polenta:
1 Cup Marino Coarse Organic Yellow Cornmeal
4 cups water
1/4 cup unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream (optional)

For the Wild Mushroom Ragu:
You may use any combination of wild mushrooms you like. At No 9 Park, I use the folowing:
1 1/2 - 2 lbs total, cleaned and chopped:
  oyster mushrooms
  portobello mushrooms
  chanterelles
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (try Organic Taibi Biancolilla for this recipe)
4 peeled and chopped shallots
1 garlic clove chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup good quality red wine
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring pot of salted water to a boil, whisk in cornmeal and leave alone on very low heat about an hour. Stir in butter, salt & pepper and heavy cream if using. When done, remove from heat and pour into an oven-proof baking dish.

In the meantime, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the shallots and garlic, cook 3 minutes and add the chopped mushrooms, fresh thyme, salt and pepper, sauté about 7 minutes, turning occasionally.

When all the water has been cooked out of the mushrooms add the red wine and reduce, then add the chicken stock and butter and cook another 5-6 minutes. When the mushroom ragu is done, pour on top of the polenta and bake in the oven approximately 15 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle the top with the freshly grated or shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Serves 4