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If you’re anything like me, you probably struggle to wrangle your family to sit down for dinner. And we’re not alone! In fact, family dinners have declined by 30% in the last 3 decades! Inspired by the Fantastic Fungi Community Cookbook, this Sausage & Mushroom Ragu Polenta Board Recipe is intended to spark an interactive “All Hands In!” approach to family dinner!

You’ve heard of charcuterie boards, but have you tried making a polenta board?

interactive family dinners

What Are the Benefits of Sit-Down Family Meals?

Did you know that family meals provide better health and wellbeing for everyone involved?

Sitting down to eat with loved ones is linked to

This easy family recipe comes in two parts!

Part 1: Ingredients for this Sausage & Mushroom Ragu Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup pancetta, diced
  • 1 pound fresh Italian sausage (links cut into 1” chunks)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch red chili pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

interactive family meal

How to Make this Sausage & Mushroom Ragu Recipe

  1. Place the olive oil and pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat, uncovered.
  2. As the pancetta renders, add the sausage and brown, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the onions and cook until they are softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the garlic and the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes until the mushrooms are softened and the garlic is fragrant.
  5. Continue on medium heat and add in the tomatoes, red wine (or chicken broth), oregano and chili pepper flakes (if using).
  6. Use a potato masher to crush the tomatoes in the pot.
  7. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through, and the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes.

Part 2: Ingredients for the Creamy Polenta Recipe

  • 1 quart (4 cups) water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Scant 1 cup polenta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

interactive family dinner meal

How to Make this Creamy Polenta Recipe

  1. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium pot over medium heat.
  2. Slowly pour in the polenta with one hand while whisking with the other.
  3. When all the polenta is in the pot, turn the heat to low, cover and stir every 5 minutes or so until the polenta is cooked, at most 20 minutes. You can tell the polenta is done when the texture is creamy and the corn is tender.
  4. If the polenta becomes thick and heavy, add water, ½ cup at a time. The consistency should be like grits.
  5. Turn off heat and stir in the butter and the parmesan cheese until melted and creamy.

FAQs

What kind of Italian sausage should I use?

You can use mild or hot Italian sausage – links or bulk sausage – the choice is yours!

What kind of mushrooms should I use?

Any hearty mushroom, like porcini, cremini, shiitake or portobello.

What if I only have delicate wild mushrooms?

If you choose to use delicate wild mushrooms, like chanterelle, oyster, king trumpet, honey mushrooms, saute them separately with chopped shallots and butter. Season with salt & pepper. Then spoon the mushrooms on TOP of the ragu right before serving. 

Can I use pre-made polenta?

You can definitely use the pre-made polenta that comes in a tube. If you’re having trouble finding powdered polenta, you’ll find it under the name Corn Meal. 

Sausage & Mushroom Ragu Polenta Board Recipe

Pancetta and Italian sausage in a tomato ragu, laid atop creamy polenta for a board dinner the whole family can reach from any corner of the table!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 741 kcal

Ingredients
  

Sausage & Mushroom Ragu

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup pancetta diced
  • ½ pound italian sausage fresh links or bulk
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced
  • ½ pound mushrooms sliced
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes (28 ounces)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine dry
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper freshly ground, to taste

Creamy Polenta

  • 1 qt water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated

Instructions
 

Sausage & Mushroom Ragu

  • Place the olive oil and pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat, uncovered.
  • As the pancetta renders, add the sausages and brown, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the onions and cook until they are softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic and the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes until the mushrooms are softened and the garlic is fragrant.
  • Continue on medium heat and add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine and oregano.
  • Use a potato masher to crush the tomatoes in the pot.
  • Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through, and the sauce has thickened, about 45 minutes.

Creamy Polenta

  • Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium pot over medium heat.
  • Slowly pour in the polenta with one hand while whisking with the other.
  • When all the polenta is in the pot, turn the heat to low and stir frequently until the polenta is cooked, at most 20 minutes. You can tell the polenta is done when the texture is creamy and the corn is tender.
  • If the polenta becomes thick and heavy, add water, ½ cup at a time. The consistency should be like grits.
  • Turn off heat and stir in the butter and the parmesan cheese until melted and creamy.

Nutrition

Sodium: 1835mgCalcium: 234mgVitamin C: 20mgVitamin A: 770IUSugar: 7gFiber: 4gPotassium: 901mgCholesterol: 94mgCalories: 741kcalTrans Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 22gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 19gFat: 49gProtein: 24gCarbohydrates: 47gIron: 3mg
Keyword board, creamy, mushrooms, polenta, ragu, sausage
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