I’ve never been a fan of grits. I think it’s one of those things you have to grow up eating to appreciate. But I love polenta. This doesn’t really make sense because they are basically the same thing. And yet, it’s true. I don’t know if it’s the way it’s cooked, or the way it’s presented or if it’s just in my head. I suppose in the end it doesn’t really matter. In any case, this post is about polenta. Which is wonderful. Especially when you mix cream cheese and butter into it. If you are on a gluten-free diet, or just wanting something different from rice or potatoes to smother with something, eat this. You can thank me later.
Topping off the polenta is a delicious mushroom and sausage concoction. Together it was heaven on a plate. When I first showed this recipe to my daughter Claire she was suspicious of the whole thing. It didn’t look like much. But in the end, she made the loudest yummy noises of all. This disappeared in record time but it will definitely be making a reappearance in our kitchen very soon!
Mushroom and Sausage Ragú with Creamy Polenta
(adapted from Cooking Light)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces hot Italian sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 – 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked polenta
4 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon butter
To make polenta, bring broth and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add polenta, stirring well. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15-20 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, cream cheese, and butter.
Meanwhile, eat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Remove sausage from casings. Add sausage to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms; sauté 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in sausage, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium; simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. Serve over polenta.