My new book, 100 Best Vegan Recipes hits the shelves this week. To celebrate, I’m sharing another recipe from the book. This one is a childhood favorite, Polenta with Spicy Tomato-Mushroom Ragu. Whenever my mom made this, she’d spread the cooked polenta onto a large wooden board (about 42 inches square) that my mother used for rolling out homemade pasta and kneading bread. The board was placed on top of the kitchen table for the occasion. The polenta was then topped with her rich tomato sauce that often included pieces of homemade spicy Italian sausage. We’d all sit around the board and dig in, marking off our own section of the polenta and eating directly from the board. In this version, bowls replace the board and mushrooms and seasonings provide a sausage-like flavor and texture to the sauce.
As I mentioned in a previous post, many of the recipes from 100 Best Vegan Recipes are favorite recipes that you helped me choose from my book 1000 Vegan Recipes. I’ve also included several all-new recipes into this slim hardcover volume with gorgeous photos by Lucy Shaeffer. I hope you enjoy this recipe — and the book!
POLENTA WITH SPICY TOMATO-MUSHROOM RAGU
For an even quicker version, use pre-cooked polenta, available in the produce section of well-stocked supermarkets. Cut it into slices and sauté in a skillet in a small amount of olive oil, then top with the sauce. Excerpted from 100 BEST VEGAN RECIPES, © 2016 by Robin Robertson. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
1 1/2 cups polenta or coarse-ground cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
8 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, chopped
3 cups marinara sauce
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Slowly stream in the cornmeal and add the salt, whisking constantly. Decrease the heat to medium- low and continue whisking until the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pot, about 20 minutes. Keep warm.
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the marinara sauce, fennel seeds, basil, red pepper flakes, and marjoram. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. To serve, spoon the warm polenta into shallow bowls and top with the sauce.