This dish came by way of my 90 year-old neighbor, Beppi. In the Veneto, Beppi’s region of Italy, polenta is eaten quite often, if not daily.
When Beppi makes polenta, I’m usually the recipient of a nice portion of it. This week, along with the polenta, he gave me a sample of his luganiga sausages, sauteed with mushrooms and a touch of tomato–they were absolutely delicious! I asked him his recipe, which he graciously (as ever) gave me. This is my approximation of Beppi’s recipe from his description.
Luganiga sausage, you may recall from my prior posts, is a thin, delicate pork sausage, sold in a ring. Beppi takes the entire ring and lightly browns it in a skillet on low heat for about a half-hour. Then he sautes mushrooms and diced tomatoes, then stirs in a spoonful of his homemade pesto at the end.
Since I don’t currently have pesto in my freezer (although, by the looks of Beppi’s basil plants, that will soon be remedied), I chose to add a handful of chives to give my sausages a nice green color and flavor. In addition, I sauteed some sliced garlic, along with the mushrooms. Beppi is allergic to garlic, otherwise, I’m sure he’d approve of garlic with mushrooms.
I was lucky enough to have Beppi’s polenta as a base for my dish. Beppi uses instant polenta, but cooks it for 20 minutes, rather than the 5 minutes recommended on the package.
I happened to have some cooked luganiga sausage in my freezer, so I was able to make this dish in about 15 minutes. Otherwise, the total prep time would be a half-hour–the mushroom mixture would be made while the sausage browns. This evening, I was cooking for two, but I’ve given you the proportions for four, based on one ring of sausage.
Beppi’s Luganiga Sausage with Mushrooms and Polenta
1 ring of luganiga sausage, lightly browned on both sides, cut into 2″ links
3/4 lb fresh cremini mushrooms, wiped with a damp cloth to remove any loose soil, cut in half, then sliced crosswise into 1/4″ slices
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 tbls olive oil
1 15-oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained in a strainer
1 tbl fresh chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste
In a skillet on low heat, lightly brown the garlic in the olive oil for about a minute. Turn heat to high and add mushrooms. Toss and saute for about 4 – 5 minutes on high heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add cooked sausage and tomato pulp (save the liquid for another use).
Cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle on chives and serve over polenta.