2 cups (500ml milk)
1 bay leaf
1 cup (170g) instant polenta
1/3 cup (85g) mascarpone, cream or butter
80g pecorino or parmesan, 50g grated, 30g shaved
600g mixed mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 cloves garlic chopped
½ cup (125ml) white wine
½ cup (125ml) chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley + extra leaves to garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Enoki mushrooms (optional), separated to garnish – see note
1. For the soft polenta: place milk, 2 cups water and bay leaf in a medium saucepan, bring almost to the boil then turn off heat and infuse for 20 minutes. Strain and discard the bay leaf, reheat then gradually whisk in the polenta and salt, whisking until it thickens, then reduce heat to low and cook for approximately 10 minutes, depending on packet instructions. Stir in mascarpone and grated pecorino and mix until melted and combined. Taste and season. Add more hot water or milk, if too thick.
2. For the mushrooms: place large frying pan over medium high heat, melt 20g butter cook enoki mushrooms (if using) for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Drain on kitchen paper. Add remaining butter, garlic and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes or until golden but not over-cooked, then add oyster mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, finally add any chopped black fungus (cloud’s ear).
Add white wine, bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute, then add stock, bring to boil then reduce to simmer for 4 minutes over low. Add the thyme and season.
3. To serve: ladle the polenta into the middle of each plate, top with the mushroom ragout, pecorino, enoki mushrooms and parsley leaves and serve immediately.
Lyndey’s note: This ragout is also delicious with a little cream added, over pasta or as a sauce for beef or chicken. Packs of mixed mushrooms for risotto often include black fungus (cloud’s ear), oyster and enoki mushrooms. Separate out enokis for garnish.