I followed the suggestion to make a double portion as it was advertised by Daniel Gritzer of seriouseats.com as an epic vegetarian sauce. The prep work alone for making a double batch of mushroom ragù was epic alright: almost 1.800g / 4 lbs of mixed fresh mushrooms, rehydrated dried porcini combined, some herbs as well as serious amounts of onions, spring onion, garlic and carrots.
When I made this dish, it was insanely busy at work, so just chopping away and stirring in pots – watching the mushroom slowly caramelise and turn into a delicious sauce and seeing the polenta come together – for several hours really was a much needed zen moment for me.
In this recipe, you are supposed to make it like an lasagna, with the creamy polenta doubling as lasagna sheet layers and béchamel sauce. I made the polenta with a mix of water, milk and stock for maximum flavour – and although creamy and silky smooth, we are not a huge fan.
Perhaps that the quantities were off whilst doubling the recipe, but there was relatively a lot of polenta compared to the mushroom ragù. Therefore, it resulted in a thick top layer with a density of approx: 4×1017 kg/m3 (but that was due to the fact that I made it ahead and put it in the fridge). The solution was easy: we lifted the polenta “tile” and devoured the rest.
It must be said, the mushroom ragù was truly amazing: slow cooking the mushrooms and vegetables with just some white wine and chopped tomatoes creates a remarkably complex and rich, almost “beefy” sauce. Therefore, I’d recommend it as a proper veggie substitute for a ragù bolognese.