Mushroom and Sausage Ragu with Polenta

If I had an Italian grandma, this is what she would make.  I can even imagine the whole huge family gathering at her house for Sunday dinner.  As everyone makes their way inside the front door, they stomp the snow off of their books, remove their coats and scarves, and are overcome with the wonderful aroma of the sausage and mushroom bubbling away quietly on the stove.  But, I don’t have an Italian grandma, a large family, or live where it snows.  That, however, did not stop me from making this for Sunday dinner with my fantastic little family.  Suffice it to say, my Italian grandma would do a better job of the polenta than me.  It wasn’t all my fault though!  A big part of it is that 1970s stove top I’m working on (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).  I will try this again, but will be more kind with my polenta, and maybe my polenta will be more kind with me.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Tbs olive oil, divided
8 oz sweet turkey Italian sausage (original recipe called for hot, but I knew the kidlets would NOT be on board for that)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 lb sliced cremini mushrooms
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 (14.5 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
2 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked polenta
4 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 Tbs butter

Preparation:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 1/2 tsp olive oil to pan, swirling to coat.  Remove sausage from casings and add sausage to pan; saute about 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.  Removed sausage from pan.

Add 1 Tbs olive oil to pan, swirling to coat.  Add onion; saute 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add mushrooms; saute 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic; saute 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Stir in sausage, 1/8 tsp salt, and tomatoes, bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium; simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Bring broth and 1 1/2 cups of water to  boil in medium saucepan.  Add polenta, stirring well.  Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 20 minutes, or until thick, stirring occasionally.  Stir in remaining 1/8 tsp salt, cream cheese, and butter.  Serve over with sausage mixture.

Wine Pairings Suggestions:
Cabernet FrancMalbec
Merlot
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Sausage Ragu

*Courtesy Cooking Light

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