Polenta with Sausage and Mixed Mushrooms

Marcellino Verzino

Marcellino Ristorante, Scottsdale, AZ

Creamy polenta is a great base for this fennel-studded Italian sausage ragoût with earthy mixed mushrooms, red wine, and plenty of garlic. Make sure to top things off with a final showering of nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.


Mushrooms and Sausage:

  • 1 pound sausages (such as a mild Italian sausage with fennel seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms (like shiitake, cremini, and champignon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Splash of red wine
  • 1 cup hot water (to be used as needed)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Flour
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish


  • 1 cup quick cooking polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter


With tines of a fork, poke the sausages (this releases extra fat while the sausage cook). Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the sausages; cook for 4 to 5 minutes then remove and let cool. Peel off the casings, crumble the sausages, and set aside.

In large saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and sauté the garlic for 1 minute until golden. Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic from the pan. Add the crumbled sausage and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the mixed mushrooms, salt, pepper, and splash of red wine and continue to sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until the wine has reduced. Add a bit of the hot water (as needed) to create a creamy consistency. Roll the butter in the flour and add to the pan for more creaminess, adding more water only if necessary. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Make the polenta: bring the water and salt to a boil in a large pot. Slowly pour the polenta into the boiling water, whisking constantly until all the polenta is stirred in and there are no lumps. Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until the polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. The polenta mixture should still be slightly loose. The polenta is done when the texture is creamy and the individual grains are tender, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and gently stir the butter into the polenta until melted.

To serve, spoon some polenta onto a plate, top with the mushroom–sausage sauce, and finish with a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately.


4 servings