Rosemary Mushroom Polenta with Spinach and Marinara Sauce

Other, Vegetarian

Rosemary Mushroom Polenta with Spinach and Marinara Sauce

 

Adapted from meatfreemondays.com and budgebytes.com

To start off, let me just say that you can eat really good food in my college town, Davis, CA. This goes for Café Bernardo as well. My parents and I were surprised when we arrived at this restaurant and found out it was actually part of the Best Western Palm Court Hotel. We were not at all disappointed, however, and we make a point of going there every time they come visit. That said, though many things on the menu sound amazing, I always order the Grilled Polenta that comes with tomato sauce, spinach, portobello and cheese. I was then inspired to make something similar. I found two recipes, which I combined. A very satisfying meal!

Yields 4-6 servings 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces portobello and shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 8 ounces frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 cup tomato purée or marinara sauce

 Directions:

1.     Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.

2.     Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. When the water boils, add the polenta in a steady stream while stirring. Keep stirring until it reaches a soft, creamy consistency and turn off heat. Beat in the butter. Season with salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper to taste.

3.     Pour the polenta into the prepared baking dish and set in the fridge for about an hour or until firm.

4.     Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).

5.     Remove the polenta from the fridge and top it with the Parmesan.

6.     Place the polenta in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

7.     When the polenta has warmed through, remove it from the oven and cut into squares.

8.     While the polenta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and a nice brown color. After 2 minutes, toss in the chopped rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste.

9.     Remove the mushrooms from the skillet, leaving any liquids behind in the pan and add the frozen spinach. Sauté the spinach until heated through and season with salt and pepper to taste.

10. To serve, arrange a couple of baked polenta squares on each plate and top with about ¼ of the tomato purée or marinara. Then add a layer of spinach and finally a layer of the rosemary infused mushrooms. Decorate with sprigs of fresh rosemary if desired. Serve warm.

 

 

Comments: This recipe is not at all difficult. After the polenta has been left in the fridge, it is also quite quick to make. By combining two recipes, I tried to pull in my favorite aspects of each recipe to make one great dish. I loved the idea of the rosemary infused mushrooms from the Meat Free Mondays recipe but I wanted the spinach and tomato purée/sauce as well. Instead of just using portobello mushrooms, I also added some shiitake mushrooms. Hope you like it!

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Wild Mushroom Lasagne

Lasagna, Vegetarian

Wild Mushroom Lasagne II

Adapted from cooking.nytimes.com

And so my lasagne obsession continues! This is another great one with a beautiful blend of a strong wild mushroom taste with ricotta, marinara and Parmesan. The recipe itself is not too complex. You can prepare it up to a day ahead and refrigerate or freeze it. You can even bake it several hours ahead and reheat it in a medium oven.

P.S. I greatly apologize for my inconsistency. I had a few rough and busy months but now I am less stressed and hope to start blogging again regularly. Thank you for your patience!

Yields 6 servings

Wild Mushroom Lasagne

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ pound wild mushrooms, torn or cut into smaller slices if large (I used oyster and shiitake mushrooms)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 8 ounces ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2¼ cups marinara sauce (recipe below)
  • 7 to 8 ounces whole wheat lasagne noodles, prepared according to package
  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms. Let sear without moving for about 30 seconds, then toss and stir in the pan until they begin to sweat, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn heat to medium and add the thyme. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are soft. Remove from heat.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Lightly grease a 13×9 baking dish and set aside.
  3. Blend the ricotta with the egg, water, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread a small spoonful of marinara in a thin layer over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with a layer of lasagne noodles. Top the noodles with a thin layer of the ricotta mixture. Spoon on a few dollops then spread it wan a rubber spatula. Top the ricotta with half the mushrooms. Top with a layer of marinara sauce and a layer of Parmesan. Repeat the layers. End with a finally layer of lasagne noodles topped with marinara and Parmesan.
  5. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminium. Bake in the preheat oven for 40 minutes or until the noodles are tender and the mixture is bubbling. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Wild Mushroom Lasagne

Simple Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, chopped, with juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Pulse the chopped tomatoes in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the tomatoes and their juice, the sugar and salt. Stir and turn up the heat. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until thick and fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Wild Mushroom Lasagne, pedazo

Comments: So, funny story: This is actually supposed to be “Lasagne with Spinach and Wild Mushrooms.” The first step was to cook 1 pound of spinach in a pot until wilted and then chop it. I cooked the spinach and then did the rest of the recipe. I finished assembling my beautiful lasagne, raised my eyes and saw the spinach to my left all nicely chopped up. I couldn’t disassemble the lasagne and went ahead and cooked it without the spinach. It turned out to be a huge success. I served the spinach on the side, but the lasagne really did not need it. If you wish to add the spinach, stir it into the ricotta-egg mixture right before assembling the lasagne. My little adventure aside, when choosing the mushrooms I decided for oyster and shiitake mushrooms. Some other examples of wild mushrooms are porcini, cremini, maitake and morels.

Wild Mushroom Lasagne, pedazo II