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In the kitchen with Grant Whittaker Simple yet decadent mushroom ragù recipe

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Photos C/O Hannah Walters-Vida, Sasha Dhesi

Print recipe here!

This mushroom ragù recipe is multi-purposeful and versatile. While simple to make, it looks and tastes decadent and earthy. Mushroom ragù is traditionally prepared as a main course and paired with chicken, pork or beef but this recipe calls for a vegetarian twist. It can also make a great appetizer served with toasted points or crostini.

Any variety of cheese will work well for topping the dish, including parmesan, goat, blue or cream cheese. The Hamilton Farmers’ Market and other local grocers carry a great selection of tofu cream cheese if you choose to make this dish vegan. Use your imagination and garnish with fresh herbs like chives, thyme and parsley or serve with a simple arugula salad dressed with olive oil and lemon.

The entire dish is easy to prepare in under 45 minutes but it’s packed with flavour, making it an impressive dish to serve.

The Chef: Grant Whittaker

Rocking a black bandana with the well-derived title ‘chef’ written out in boldface, Whittaker can be found behind his Best on Bread counter at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market making a mean slow roasted porchetta for market-goers and catering clients. With twenty years of experience, Whittaker started off learning recipes at an Italian restaurant in his youth, became head chef at wineries in Grimsby and Niagara and served quite a storm in some of Hamilton’s favourite food trucks. He incorporates his taste for decadent ingredients into everything he cooks up, making even the simplest of dishes reminiscent of a fine dining experience.  

Features Reporter Hannah Walters-Vida trying out the recipe at home.

Mushroom ragù Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot or onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 460 g mushrooms, chopped (white, portobello, cremini or shitake)
  • 1 tsp thyme or rosemary, diced
  • ¼ cup parsley, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Splash of water or white wine (optional)
  • 2/3 heavy cream 35% (optional)

Managing Editor Sasha Dhesi tried the recipe! She served the ragu with butternut squash gnocchi. She added roasted brussel sprouts to add some texture and greens to the meal.

Mushroom ragù directions:

  1. Preheat a pan over medium heat, add olive oil.
  2. Sauté chopped shallots or onions until soft and add the garlic.
  3. Add mushrooms to the pan and cook for five minutes before adding white wine (or water).
  4. Add butter, thyme or rosemary and season with salt and pepper before adding the cream.
  5. Reduce heat and let simmer for about five more minutes or until thickened.
  6. Serve with pasta, polenta, risotto or as an appetizer on crostini. Top the dish off with your choice of cheese.

Features Reporter Hannah Walters-Vida’s take on this recipe.

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Author: Razan Samara

Razan Samara is in her third year of life science studies (probably for life). You can find her hitting the books and working at the hospital to complete her mental health minor, but most of the time she’s in the Sil’s dungeon office managing the Arts & Culture section as editor. She’s fond of Hamilton’s many galleries, enjoys meaningful talks with chefs at the Farmer’s Market and uses writing to connect with the world around her.