Sausage and mushroom ragù with Grana Padano polenta

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Sausage and mushroom ragù with Grana Padano polenta


. Difficulty: Easy . Serves: 4/6 people . Preparation time: 40 minutes
This is wintery comfort food at its finest. This dish is based on something eaten frequently in Lecco - polenta, salsiccia, e funghi. Although it tastes particularly good in the mountain lodges of Lecco, it’s thankfully straightforward to recreate at home. Tuck in and enjoy with a glass of something equally warming.


For the sausage and mushroom ragù
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and finely chopped
1 onion, trimmed, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
400 g good-quality Italian sausages
300 g mushrooms of your choice, trimmed and roughly chopped
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
10g thyme, leaves stripped off stems
15g rosemary, leaves stripped off stems and finely chopped
3 bay leaves
Sea salt
Black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
100ml red wine or stock

For the Grana Padano polenta
200 g polenta
1 litre water 
Sea salt
65 g butter, cubed
100 g Grana Padano, finely grated
Black pepper


For the sausage and mushroom ragù
Heat the oil in a large casserole pan over a medium heat. 
Add the carrots, onion and celery and sweat, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Stir every now and then.
Squeeze the sausages out of their skins and add to the pan. Crush up the sausage meat in the pan and cook for 5 minutes without stirring. Stir the mixture around, then cook for another 5 minutes without touching so that it caramelises on both sides.
Add the mushrooms, garlic and herbs. Season well with salt and pepper, then cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Squeeze in the tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine or stock and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced.
Pour in the tinned tomatoes and one tin’s worth of boiled water. Give everything a really good stir. 
Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for three hours, checking and stirring every now and then.
Check the seasoning at the end of the cooking time and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the soft Grana Padano polenta below.

For the Grana Padano polenta
Pour the water into a large pan with 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and bring to the boil.  When the water is boiling, pour in the polenta in a steady stream, whisking continuously (be careful as it might splash). 
Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Polenta mixture should still be slightly loose. When polenta is too thick to whisk, stir with a wooden spoon. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 to 6 minutes (if using instant polenta, cooking time is reduced to around 10-15 min). Polenta is done when texture is creamy and the individual grains are tender.
Remove the polenta from the heat and fold in the cheese and butter until melted. Season with salt and pepper and serve straight away.

This recipe was produced by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions, on behalf of Grana Padano