Posted by: timscooking | January 27, 2010

Polenta with Two Sauces

My wife loves baked butternut squash. I usually add it to risotto but I came across a recipe by Anna Thomas in Food & Wine for baked butternut squash and cheese polenta which sounded like a great new way to incorporate butternut squash into a meal. This recipe makes more than enough for two nights if you are cooking for two. I baked it in a cast iron casserole with a lid although you could substitute an oven proof glass casserole and cover the leftovers with foil to use on day two.

The first night, I made a simple tomato sauce using a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and onion which I simmered in a covered one quart sauce pan for 30 minutes. After removing the lid, I broke up some of the tomatoes with a fork and let the sauce simmer, uncovered, for another 10 minutes to thicken. I cut the polenta into wedges and served the tomato sauce over it.

The second night, I made a sherry mushroom sauce (See picture and recipe below) for the polenta. I let the polenta come to room temperature and reheated it, covered, in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Sherry Mushroom Sauce

1 cup dried mushrooms, chopped

1 cup fresh wild mushrooms, chopped

2 tablespoons butter, divided

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sherry (Do not use something labeled cooking sherry, get your sherry from the wine section of the store)

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes and drain. Melt one tablespoon of the butter in a small skillet on medium heat, add the mushrooms and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. Pour the sautéed mushrooms into a bowl and then melt the remaining butter, add the flour and whisk until  it is incorporated with the butter and no longer looks white. Add the milk, turn the heat to high and continue whisking until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the sherry and whisk for another two minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan, reduce the heat and stir the mushrooms into the sauce.

This sauce is also great with mushroom omelets or chicken.

Add a small tossed salad and you’ve got a great vegetarian meal.



  1. Hey Tim,

    In case Kristina didn’t mention (how could she not!!!) I am a terrible cook! Frankly, I survive on instant noodles or take away.

    These recipes are awesome!

    I am going to try some, obviously the ingredients would cost an arm and a leg in Shanghai, but I believe it will be worth it.

    I am going to share your blog with my mum as well, she would love this!

    I will keep you posted when I try the first recipe – which i think will be the pizza. Please keep the recipes and tips flowing. (Try and put up something if you can, for the “raw” persons, what we need in a kitchen to get started, haha, that is how basic I am)


  2. […] The busiest day of the year was January 29th with 33 views. The most popular post that day was Polenta with Two Sauces. […]

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