Crispy Polenta Rounds with Tomato and Mushroom Ragout

As I said in my first post about cooking with Hayley, we learned a lot about one another – especially our cooking styles. It really is comical how different they are. Hayley is a natural baker – she loves to measure. I don’t think my measuring spoons have ever been used so much! This comes in handy when following recipes and trying to report back on our blogs what ingredients and measurements we used. This is my failure – I hate to measure! I spend my time in the kitchen using mostly my hands throwing whatever I see into the pan. No measurements, no methods. I’m sure she thought I was crazy. Neither style is best and I think we both rubbed off on each other for the better.

This recipe is the best example of our contrasting cooking styles. Hayley and I picked out a recipe for Wild Mushroom and Tomato Ragout and it wasn’t exactly fit for an appetizer. We had to improvise which I thought was fun – I’m not sure Hayley enjoyed it as much! It was a good compromise to let Hayley make the polenta (which required measurement) and she let me take the lead on the ragout. It was a smart move and an excellent starter.

You may want to refer to Hayley’s blog to reference her recipe for this dish. I’m sure it is more precise.

Crispy Polenta Rounds with Tomato and Mushroom Ragout – makes 8 to 12 small portions


  • 1 cup polenta (cooked to package instructions using chicken broth, a bit of butter and some parmesan cheese)
  • olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes sliced in halves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

Assembly: In advance, make polenta according to package. Pour into a cake pan (polenta should be about 1 inch thick) and let chill and set for several hours. Cut out rounds of the polenta with a cookie cutter. Later on, saute onion, sage, rosemary, mushrooms and tomatoes in olive oil (you can do this in steps according to this order). Season with salt and pepper. Add balsamic vinegar and tomato paste and allow to reduce until thick. Taste for any additional seasoning. In another pan, saute polenta rounds in olive oil so that they are heated through and crispy on each side. Top with mushroom and tomato ragout and enjoy!


  1. Hey C!

    This sounds incredible. I’m so glad I saw it. It’s going to be the perfect appetizer for a birthday brunch I’m serving this Sunday. Wooo hooo!

  2. Cecelia I used to make something very similar back when Brad & I first met. I’ll have to dust it off and give it your shine!

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