We are big fans of the local newspaper. We have been having the Boston Globe delivered to our (most recent) home for the past 7 years...and prior to that in other residences. As much as I am a techno-geek with my iPad and iPhone, I do love opening the paper and reading the latest news with a big cup of french vanilla coffee. I especially love the Wednesday edition as it showcases recipes that can be used and re-used. Basically, it's a one dish, two different meal recipe.
This week was the Portobello and Sausage Ragu with Polenta. It was a nice comfort food recipe which had sausage as well as some of our favorite vegetables of mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach. We love these types of dishes especially when the results end up in extras for another meal. The second meal to this was a quesadilla recipe using the sausage mixture. That would have been our second meal but too many people enjoyed it for lunch the following day.
As we were enjoying the sausage and portobello ragu, I was saying that I love recipes that use sausage removed from the casings. We had grilled sausages on the grill the week before and I pushed them around my plate during dinner. I love using sausage as a flavor enhancer to dishes. When mixed with tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach it is delicious.
The other part to this recipe, that made it so good, was the polenta. It wasn't the recipe from the back of the box. It was very creamy and worked perfectly with the dish. We have made polenta numerous times and haven't been able to get the right texture. I'm holding on to this polenta recipe for future dishes. The recipe was easy and the ingredients blended perfectly.
We may be heading into full spring season in New England, but this dish was perfect. Cool spring night, warm (extremely flavorful) ragu over creamy polenta...absolutely wonderful.
Ingredients for Ragu:
12 ounces of baby spinach, stemmed and rinsed
3 tablespoons of olive oil
6 sweet Italian pork sausages (about 1¼ pounds), removed from casings
1 large yellow onion, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1½ pounds of portobello mushroom caps, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary
1 can (28 ounces) of whole tomatoes, break up with your hand before putting them in the pan
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the spinach with just the water that clings to it, turning often, for 3 minutes; drain in a colander.
2. Wipe out the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and when it is hot, cook the sausage, breaking it up, for 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
3. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Cook the onion, stirring often, for 6 minutes.
4, Add the mushrooms and cook for 8 minutes or until most of the water evaporates. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and pepper.
5. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Return the sausage to the skillet and cook 8 minutes.
Ingredients for Polenta:
4½ cups of water
1½ teaspoons of kosher salt
1⅓ cups of quick-cooking polenta
½ cup of freshly grated Parmesan, plus a little extra for sprinkling
1. In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta in a thin stream.
2. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until the polenta is creamy.
3. Add Parmesan cheese.
Place polenta in a bowl and spoon the ragu on top. Add additional Parmesan cheese.