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Spicy Italian Sausage and Shrimp Ragout

Canada, we have a winner. Cooks all over the country opened up their recipe books, but only one emerged victorious. Celebrity Chef Mark McEwan himself selected this ragout recipe as the dish du jour.  And when your appetizer is this good, the main course better step up its game.

Prep Time
Cook Time

What You Need

  • 1 ½ pkgs. (17.64 ounces/500 g) Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage Links, casings removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 lb (226.80 g) black tiger shrimp, cut in half length wise
  • 1 cup high quality olives, pitted and rough chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp chopped oregano
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • 1 tsp toasted fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 cup light red wine
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped chillies
  • 1 ½ cans (796mL) DOP tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 L (33.81 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1 cup high quality, stone ground cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp mascarpone
  • 1/2 cup grated reggiano
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a Dutch oven, sweat the onions in the olive oil. When it begins to wilt, add the garlic and sweat a minute longer. Raise the heat to medium - high and add the sausage to brown.  After about 10 minutes, stir in the fennel seeds, olives, capers, oregano, and basil. Follow immediately with the wine. When the wine has nearly evaporated, add the chillies, tomatoes, and tomato paste, crushing the tomatoes with your spoon as you stir. Bring to a simmer, season, and reduce heat to very low. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Fold in the shrimp, and simmer approximately another 5 minutes until the shrimp is fully cooked.

  2. For Polenta: In a separate sauce pot, bring the chicken broth to a vigorous boil. Reduce the heat to medium and slowly stir in the cornmeal, about ½ tbsp at a time, stirring continuously. Clumps will form if cornmeal is added too quickly. When all the cornmeal is added, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently for approximately 30 minutes, until polenta thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pot. Fold in the butter, mascarpone, reggiano, and season with salt and pepper. Add a touch of warm water if you feel the polenta is too thick.

  3. Divide among 8 plates and create a well for the ragout. Serve the ragout over the creamy polenta and drizzle with olive oil and grated parmesan if desired.