Mushroom and Sausage Ragù with Polenta

Despite the fact that it really doesn’t feel like fall has arrived here in Denver just yet (and I’m not complaining – this time last year, we’d already had a significant snow storm!), I could no longer resist the urge to start cooking fall comfort food.  I love grilling and all the amazing produce summer has to offer, but I think fall – with its braised meats, soups, stews, squash, and all other kinds of warm, delicious things – might be my favorite cooking season.

I found the recipe for my first comfort dish of the season – Mushroom and Sausage Ragù with Polenta – from Cooking Light, which I suppose makes this a nice transition from summer to fall; the dish tastes incredibly rich and comforting, but it actually isn’t all that bad on a nutritional scale.  A dish with (turkey) sausage, butter, and (light) cream cheese?  Yes, please.  Here’s the recipe:

Mushroom and Sausage Ragù with Polenta
Serves 4 (Serving size is 1 cup ragù and 1 cup polenta)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 (14.5-ounce) 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 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon butter

Method:
Heat 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 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 15 minutes.

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 20 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, cheese, and butter. Serve with sausage mixture.

My deviations:

  • My grocery store was out of hot turkey Italian sausage, so I used sweet.
  • I find that Cooking Light recipes rarely have enough salt for my taste, so I used 1/4 teaspoon of salt (1/2 teaspoon total) each time the recipe called for 1/8 teaspoon.  On this same note, I just bought a regular old can of diced tomatoes (not no-salt-added diced tomatoes).  I did buy fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth as the recipe instructed.
  • I used Bob’s Red Mill polenta.  The recipe said to cook it for 20 minutes and the package suggested 30; I was happy with the consistency (for this particular meal, at least) at the 15 – 16 minute mark.

Mushroom and Sausage Ragu with Polenta

Good heavens, this was delicious.  I don’t know how the people at Jennie-O do it, but I never would have guessed that the sausage was made from turkey (as opposed to beef or pork) if I hadn’t cooked it myself.  The spiced meat combined with the earthy mushrooms and the sweet tomatoes made a perfect sauce.  And the polenta that soaked up that sauce?  Holy cow.  I’ve made polenta with butter and Parmesan many times before but never with cream cheese; the cream cheese really took it to the next level.  I also appreciated that there was enough butter in the polenta so we could taste it, but not so much that it created a nutritional disaster. Each serving clocks in at nine Weight Watchers points so it isn’t exactly a lean meal, but it certainly tastes far more indulgent than it is.  If I hadn’t told Dr. O this was a healthy recipe, he would have thought I was fattening him up for winter.

TIPS:  Cook the polenta while the ragù simmers so everything will be done at the same time.

Printable recipe link: Mushroom and Sausage Ragù with Polenta

2 Responses to “Mushroom and Sausage Ragù with Polenta”


  1. 1 Barbara | VinoLuciStyle October 5, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    I’m OK with not having snow yet, very OK as a matter of fact. Despite the warm days we’re having in Denver, I’m sure feeling fall in the air once the sun goes down! I’m in the mood for dishes just like this and this sounds terrific!


  1. 1 Tweets that mention Mushroom and Sausage Ragù with Polenta « Sweet and Saucy -- Topsy.com Trackback on October 6, 2010 at 4:32 am

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