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Rich and savory portobello mushroom ragu is a flavor-filled vegetarian main dish! Serve this thick and hearty sauce over cheesy polenta or your favorite pasta.
Are you’re craving an easy vegetarian dinner? This mushroom ragu recipe is hearty and rich-tasting, and it’s completely meatless.
You’re going to love this sauce! It tastes complex and slow-cooked like a true wild mushroom ragout, but you can simmer this in a little less than an hour.
It makes a fantastic one-bowl meal served over creamy Parmesan polenta.
I’ve included the recipe for my go-to perfect creamy polenta, an essential recipe for foolproof buttery soft polenta.
Although the combo of cheesy polenta and this super-tasty wild mushrooms sauce feels and tastes totally indulgent, I have no problem whatsoever tagging this recipe as “healthy” (heh heh).
After all, polenta is a gluten-free whole grain, and the robust, chunky sauce is vegetarian, full of fiber and mineral-rich portobellos.
Although a traditional Italian-style ragu or Bolognese meat sauce is a slow-cooked sauce based on meat (beef and/or pork), this mushroom sauce is just as rib-sticking and satisfying, only it’s completely meatless.
I’m always amazed when I make this — the flavors are so savory it’s hard to stop eating it. It’s definitely one of those portobello mushroom recipes that’s a total keeper.
Ingredients to make mushroom ragu
One reason this dish tastes so delicious is that it includes ingredients that happen to be full of umami, a word that basically translates from Japanese to mean “yummy”:
- Tomato paste
- Fresh mushrooms: Portobellos or creminis have the best meaty texture.
- Garlic cloves
- Dried or fresh herbs: Rosemary or thyme
- Parmesan Cheese
- Balsamic Vinegar
This same mushroom ragu is amazing on pasta too — we love it with Pappardelle Pasta with Mushroom Ragu
How to prepare portobello mushrooms:
- Choose mushrooms with firm, unbroken caps.
- Look for unbroken gills that are light brown in color. If the gills are moist or turning black, use a spoon to scrape them out and discard. Trim off the stems.
- Gently wipe the mushrooms with a damp towel if they seem dirty, but don’t soak them in water or they’ll get soggy.
- Slice into thick slices or chunks about 1-inch for the best chunky sauce.
Easy Mushroom Ragu with Parmesan Polenta
Portobello Mushroom Ragu
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound (500 g) portobello mushrooms caps, sliced into 1-inch chunks
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- ⅓-½ cup (75-125 ml) vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (50 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Parmesan Polenta
- Put the olive oil, shallots and a pinch of salt in a large (12-inch) skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are softened, but not browned.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan, Cook for about 5 minutes, or until they take on some color, then stir and add 1/2 teaspoon salt (this helps them release their water). Continue cooking until the mushrooms become tender and the liquid evaporates.
- Stir in the garlic, rosemary or thyme, chili, tomato paste, vinegar and butter. Add 1/3 cup of the stock or water and stir until the mixture becomes saucy, adding more liquid if needed.
- Serve the ragu over Parmesan Polenta with grated Parmesan.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Make ahead: The sauce will keep up to 5 days, refrigerated.
- Serve the ragu over Parmesan Polenta, toasted crusty bread or your favorite pasta.