Tuesday, December 11, 2007

easy, quick, and good!

and no, i'm not talking about your girlfriend.

i made this last night. it's easy because it uses 2 ready made ingredients which i am not used to using...but it turned out so good! and it was quick, which was even more important last night.

from gourmet. sorta translated by me.

(sorry, no pictures. but it looked really good plated up!)

parmesan crusted polenta with sausage mushroom ragout

1 1/2 lb to 2 lb precooked polenta (in a tube)
1/3 c grated parmesan
2 TBS olive oil, divided
1lb sweet italian sausage (i used turkey last night)
1/2 lb mixed sliced wild mushrooms (could use regular)
1/2 c dry red wine (any red will do)
1 1/2 c ready made marinara sauce

preheat broiler

slice polenta log into 8, 1/2 inch rounds (recipe called for 4, which was NOT enough)

place on lightly oiled heavy baking sheet and broil 3-4 inches from broiler for about 7 mins or until little golden brown spots appear on polenta.

turn polenta over and sprinkle generously with the cheese. broil for about 7 more minutes or until a bit more browned than the first side. remove from broiler.

meanwhile heat a heavy 12 inch skillet over medium high heat and add 1 TBS of the olive oil until shimmery. remove sausage from the casings and break up with a spatula. cook until *just* cooked through, about 4 mins.

remove sausage to the bowl, leaving the rendered fat behind. add the other 1 TBS of olive oil and cook mushrooms until soft, about 3 mins.

add the wine and bring to a boil scraping any bits off the bottom that stuck. continue to boil until wine is reduced by half, about 2 mins.

stir in the sausage and tomato sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. salt and pepper to taste. i found it needed pepper. but that's me.

put two polenta rounds slightly overlapping on plate, cheese side up, spoon a generous helping of the ragout over the rounds and offer more parmesan cheese at the table. serve with a green salad.


cook's notes:

i had two complaints about the original recipe. the first was they only called for 1 polenta round a person. fine for kids, but adults need at least two apiece. i changed the amount up top to reflect this.

the other was the cost. ready made sauce, precooked polenta (need it for the tube shape) and the mushrooms made it a bit pricier than i like. BUT, you pay for the easy and the quick. and, you can substitute regular mushrooms and red wine you already have whether it's *dry* or not, or any wine you purchase to drink to cut down on the cost. it need not be pricey.

also, regular sausage (which the recipe calls for) is cheaper than turkey sausage. but i was going for health. you pay for THAT too!

now, i will make my case for boxed wines. they are better than they used to be. the technology has greatly improved, so the taste is unaffected. AND they last well over a month after opening. PLUS you get 4 bottles in a box, and since they are not individually bottled they are several dollars cheaper *per bottle* over all.

some good brands are black box, three thieves, and delicato. i know i know, anyone who grew up in the central valley will remember delicato as being sort of the bottom of the barrel kinda wine. a bit below the old school gallo. you know, before they turned all yup.

not so anymore. it is now a delicious, award winning label and deserves a second try.

does anyone remember that billboard on hwy99? where the wine is being poured into the glass and it looks *real* because it's those little shimmery circles that sway and catch the light and look like the wine is really pouring?

that was my favorite billboard evah! as a kid.

what a surprise.


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