Mushroom & Sausage Ragu with Polenta

This was very rich and filling and it seemed like a very sophisticated dish for something so simple to put together. Definitely good for company! I want to start challenging myself to cook with some ingredients I haven’t used before, so when I found this recipe using polenta I thought it would be a good place to start. If you haven’t cooked with it before, polenta is a coarse corn meal, and if you can boil water, you can cook polenta! I would definitely recommend sticking with the hot Italian sausage in this recipe, because it gave the ragu a nice kick. I love sautéed mushrooms and the combination with the tomatoes and sausage in the sauce was delicious and a nice complement to the rich, creamy polenta.

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The original serving size for this recipe in Cooking Light was 1 cup polenta with 1 cup ragu (4 servings). I love food, and I can generally eat pretty hearty servings of most dishes before I start to feel full, but there was no way I could possibly eat that large a serving of such a rich meal. I decided to make the recipe serve 6 instead, and I think you’ll find 2/3 cup of each, polenta and ragu, will be plenty filling.

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Mushroom & Sausage Ragu with Polenta

Yield: 6 (2/3 c of polenta with 2/3 c of ragu) servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz hot turkey Italian sausage, removed from casings (I used the Jennie-O brand and 2 links were exactly 8 oz)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon 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 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • ½ tablespoon light butter

Directions:

  1. Add 1 ½ t olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add sausage to the pan and brown while breaking up meat with a spoon. When browned, remove sausage from pan.
  2. Add 1 T oil to the same sauté pan and swirl to coat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add sliced mushrooms and sauté 4 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sauté an additional minute, stirring constantly to combine. Stir in sausage, 1/8 t of salt and can of tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. White tomato mixture is simmering, pour broth and water into a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add polenta and stir well. Reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes or until thick (mine was thick in a little less time), stirring occasionally. Once polenta is thick, stir in cream cheese, butter and 1/8 t of salt until thoroughly combined. Serve 2/3 c ragu over 2/3 c polenta.

Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoints:
7 per serving (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)

Weight Watchers Points Plus:
7 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)

NUTRITION INFORMATION:
259 calories, 26 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 12 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 12 g protein, 2 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)

Adapted from Cooking Light