This warm and comforting side goes nicely with a hearty braise or beef stew. Try coarse cornmeal instead of instant polenta. It has a more satisfying texture.
This recipe is excerpted from Big Buy Cooking.
Meanwhile, make the mushroom ragoût: Heat the oil in a medium (10-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they soften,3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and their liquid, thyme, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper; cover with the lid partially ajar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is a saucy consistency and the mushrooms soften, 7 to 8 minutes.
Stir the Fontina into the polenta. Taste and season with salt as needed. Serve the polenta topped with the ragoût.
To rehydrate dried mushrooms, bring 2 cups water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan, add the mushrooms, and boil for 3 minutes; remove the pot from the heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms become tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to a plate. Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter or a paper towel and reserve.
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