Saturday, August 6, 2011

Parmesan-Crusted Polenta with Sausage-Mushroom Ragout

I found this recipe on Gourmet's website the other day and thought I would give it a try. The polenta cakes seemed similar to ones bf and I tried at a restaurant and he loved, so I wanted to replicate them if possible. Truth is, the recipe was good, but this recipe for Parmesan polenta with sausage sauce was way better. I thought I didn't like mushrooms and so I wanted to re-assess and see if I still felt the same way. I was right, I hate them cooked. Turns out, bf feels the same way. Also, the creamy polenta had much more of a Parmesan flavor than the polenta disks. Oh well, lesson learned. For those of you who like mushrooms- this recipe is tasty, so give it a try!

Parmesan-Crusted Polenta with Sausage-Mushroom Ragout

2 lb precooked polenta (in a tube), cut into 8 rounds, discard rounded ends
1/3 cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
1/2 lb mixed sliced fresh wild mushrooms
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1 /2 cups bottled marinara sauce

First, I removed the casings from the sauce and added them to the skillet where the hot oil was waiting. I cooked each side for a few minutes, breaking the sausages into pieces after each flip. When the sausage were done, I removed them to a bowl using a slotted spoon (keep the oil in the pan!).

Next, I added the mushrooms to the hot oil and cooked for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the mushrooms had browned and were semi-tender, I added the red wine. I let the wine boil for a few minutes until reduced by half. It should get nice and thick looking.

Then I returned the sausage to the pan and added the sauce, as well as a bit of salt and pepper. I let the whole thing simmer for about 5 minutes or until the polenta was done.

So while the sauce was cooking, I was also making the polenta rounds. I cut the tube into slices. Clearly my ability to eyeball equal slices totally sucks. I placed the rounds on parchment paper and under the broiler. Word of warning, the center rounds get burnt much faster than the outside rounds. I deserve a big fat "duh" for that comment, I know, but if you can believe it, this was my first time using the broiler in this apartment. It totally freaks me out. Something about the placement beneath the ovens scares the crap out of me because I'm convinced I'm going to burn a massive whole in my arm or something. Anyway, broil the first side of the rounds for about 7-10 minutes on low, or 5 minutes on high.

Then, remove the pan, flip the rounds over and sprinkle a generous dollop of Parmesan cheese on each round.

Return the pan to the oven and broil for about five minutes until the cheese is nicely browned like so. I had to take the center rounds out of the oven, then return the pan to the broiler so the outside guys could finish browning.

I served two rounds with a generous helping of sausage mushroom sauce. I found that serving to be perfect, so with a nice salad or something on the side, this meal would feed four people.

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