Polenta with Mushroom Ragu and Crispy Bacon



    Serves: 4


    • 400 gms polenta flour
    • 1.5 litres water
    • 500 ml milk
    • 50 gms grated Piave
    • Salt and pepper to season


    • 500 gms fresh mushroom (whatever you can get your hands on) 
    • 50 grams dry Shiitake or Porcini, soaked in hot water (optional)
    • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
    • Handful fresh thyme, stalk removed
    • A glug white wine
    • ¼ cup tomato puree
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 8 rashers bacon


Prepare the mushrooms, wipe them clean, and slice them. In case you use dry mushrooms, make sure they become soft in water, and slice them. Reserve a little bit of water in which the dry mushroom were soaking.
Fry the bacon in a pan till they are nice and crisp; keep warm. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, add garlic and onion and saute for a minute or so. Stir in the mushroom, thyme and the wine. Cook for another couple of minutes.
Add tomato puree and the reserved mushroom water. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes.

Place the water and milk in a heavy deep soup pot or a sauce pan and bring it to boil. Add generous amount of salt.
Pour the polenta with your hand, whisking in continuously so that no lumps are formed. This process is a bit like making upma, but we want the consistency to be much thinner, almost like porridge.
Continue stirring the polenta till you get the desired consistency. Add Piave cheese and give it a good stir again. In case your polenta has become thicker than porridge, add a bit more water and sir it well.
Pour a ladle of polenta in a shallow soup plate, top it with mushroom sauce, and a little more grated Piave. Garnish with two slices of crispy bacon. Serve right away.

Note:In case you do not have dry mushroom, make the sauce with fresh button Mushroom. I have used Tomato Puree here, but you could make this sauce without tomato with bechamel sauce.

By Chef Ritu Dalmia