This is a wonderful recipe for a weekend evening. We buy plenty of vegetables and often stock up on sale, as were mushrooms this weekend. There were so many mushrooms in the kitchen, necessity created this dish to make room.
Polenta is one of my favourite comfort foods. We make our version according to package directions with water, salt and nothing else added. It make a wonderful cozy base for the tomato sauce and mushrooms.
Every fall I purchase a bushel or two of Italian plum Tomatoes to make fresh sauce. It's a very basic deal and it takes an entire weekend but the rewards of sauce through the winter are great. I make my sauce oil-free.
My husband did the cooking last night. He's more rigid and logistical than I and follows recipes to the letter. This recipe differs in that he read several versions and created his own from what we had on hand, without the exotic mushrooms or added oil and it was delicious.
1/2 CUP FINELY CHOPPED RED ONION
1/2 CUP CARROT (SMALL DICE)
1/2 CUP CELERY (SMALL DICE)
3 CLOVES GARLIC, MINCED
3 80Z BOXES SLICED MUSHROOM (WHITE AND OR CREMINI)
4 CUPS TOMATO SAUCE
2 8OZ TINS OF CHERRY TOMATOES (NICE ADDITION)
VEGETABLE STOCK FOR FRYING
1/2 CUP WHITE WINE (OPTIONAL FOR DEGLAZE)
ITALIAN HERBS SEASONING
SALT & PEPPER
1) IN A LARGE NON-STICK VEGETABLE SKILLET OVER MEDIUM HIGH HEAT, ADD THE ONIONS, CARROTS AND CELERY WITH A FEW TBSP OF STOCK. SAUTEE FOR APPROX 10 MINUTES UNTIL LIQUID EVAPORATES AND ADD MORE (A FEW TBSP AT A TIME). THE VEGETABLES WILL BE TRANSLUCENT AND SOFTENED.
2) ADD THE GARLIC AND A BIT MORE STOCK. SAUTEE FOR 2-3 MINUTES, ADDING MORE STOCK TO ALLOW THE GARLIC TO COOK WITHOUT BURNING.
3) ADD THE MUSHROOMS AND STOCK AS NEEDED, TAKING CARE NOT TO ADD TO MUCH BUT JUST AS A COATING ON BOTTOM OF PAN. THIS ALLOWS THE MUSHROOM AND ONION MIXTURE TO CARAMELIZE (BROWN) AND DEVELOPS FLAVOURS. APPROXIMATELY 10 MINUTES.
4) ONCE THE MUSHROOM MIXTURE HAS BROWNED, ADD THE WHITE WINE (OR 1/2 CUP VEGETABLE STOCK) TO DEGLAZE THE PAN. SCRAPING THE BROWNED BITS FROM THE BOTTOM WITH A WOODEN SPOON OR SPATULA.
5) TURN THE HEAT TO MEDIUM/LOW AND ADD THE TOMATO SAUCE, ITALIAN HERB SEASONING, SALT & PEPPER TO TASTE. LET THE MIXTURE COME TO BOIL AND THEN SIMMER GENTLY FOR 20 MINUTES.
6) SERVE OVER BED OF CREAMY POLENTA WITH A SPRINKLE OF VEGAN PARMESAN AND SOME RED CHILLI PEPPER FLAKES.