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Soft polenta with sausage & mushroom ragout

Posted by Jeanne on May 13, 2010

I don’t want to become that person who takes a nice vegetarian (vegan! till you add cheese, which I always do) mushroom ragout and adds a whole bunch of meat to it and pronounces it much improved.  I tried to be true to the original dish, but… this rainy, yucky, dreary May needed some Italian sausage, dammit.

I won’t apologize.  It was delicious.

Soft polenta with sausage & mushroom ragout

Soft polenta

3 links Italian sausage (these were pretty mild, next time I will try and get some with more spice)

2 TB extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

0.5 medium onion, finely chopped

1 pound cremini mushrooms, finely chopped

That super-tiny mushroom on the knife was my favorite.  So adorable.

3 TB tomato paste

2 TB kalamata olives, pitted and finely minced (if your olives aren’t pitted when you get them, you can press them with a flattened knife to squish the pit out, as you would to peel garlic.  They won’t be pretty but they’ll be pitted – good for this recipe, bad for recipes or presentations requiring whole olives.)

0.5 C dry red wine

1 TB fresh basil chiffonade (take 3 or 4 basil leaves.  Roll tightly until you have a little tube of basil, then use your sharpest knife to cut thin slivers.)

See?  Beautiful.  Also it smells like heaven.

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Grated Parmesan, for serving

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the sausages and cook, turning occasionally, until just done.  Remove sausages from the skillet and thinly slice.  Set aside.

Add the olive oil to the same skillet.  Add garlic and onion and sauté until soft. Add mushrooms and cook over medium heat until they wilt and give up their juices. Do not let juices evaporate. Stir in tomato paste, olives and wine.  Stir to combine and return sausage to pan.  Cook for a couple of minutes until the flavors marry a bit.

Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, put about a cup of the soft polenta on a plate or in a bowl.  Add the sauce on top, and top with the basil and grated cheese, if desired.

It’s not the prettiest dish ever, but it was just the thing for a rainy 50 degree day in May.

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