Sausage and mushroom pasticciata

Pasticcio, or pasticciata, means mess in Italian, and this glorious mess of polenta, mozzarella, and a sausage and mushroom ragù is comfort food at its best. A salad will balance out the richness.

You'll need

375 ml (1½ cups) pouring cream 200 gm finely grated parmesan 375 gm buffalo mozzarella (3 small balls), sliced   Sausage and mushroom ragù 40 gm dried mushrooms, such as porcini 2 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 750 gm pork and fennel sausages, skins removed 200 ml red wine 800 gm canned chopped tomatoes or tomato polpa 3 thyme sprigs, plus extra to serve 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, or to taste   Parmesan polenta 250 gm coarse polenta 50 gm finely grated parmesan 50 gm butter, diced


  • 01
  • For sausage and mushroom ragù, place mushrooms in a bowl with 375ml hot water and leave to soak. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic and sauté until softened and translucent (4-5 minutes). Add sausage, and cook, breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until evenly browned (2-4 minutes). Deglaze pan with wine and simmer until reduced by half (2-3 minutes). Add tomato, thyme sprigs and mushrooms with their soaking liquid, season to taste and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and well flavoured (50 minutes to 1 hour). Discard thyme, stir in vinegar and check seasoning.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for parmesan polenta, butter a 24cm x 33cm slice pan and line it with baking paper. Bring 1.75 litres well-salted water to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat and gradually add polenta, whisking continuously to combine. Reduce heat to as low as it can go and simmer, whisking occasionally, then more frequently as the mixture thickens, and cook until the polenta no longer feels grainy on your tongue (30-35 minutes). Whisk in parmesan and butter until melted and combined, then pour into prepared tray, smooth top with a wet palette knife and refrigerate until chilled and firm (1 hour).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, simmer cream in a saucepan until reduced by half (3-4 minutes), then stir in 120gm of the parmesan, season to taste and set aside.
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Cut out 6.5cm-diameter rounds from the polenta with a biscuit cutter and place a layer in the base of a lightly oiled 3.5-litre baking dish (roughly 23cm square), filling in any gaps with the polenta offcuts. Spoon ragù over, drizzle with half the parmesan cream and scatter with half the parmesan. Season, then top with another layer of polenta rounds and parmesan cream, layer mozzarella on top and scatter with remaining parmesan. Bake until golden brown and bubbling (1-1¼ hours). Stand for 15 minutes, scatter with extra thyme and serve.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Full-bodied southern Italian red, such as primitivo.

Featured in

Jun 2016

You might also like...

A culinary Tour de France


T-bone steaks with garlic buttered mushrooms and mash

Beef cheek recipes


Crisp-skin trout with grapefruit, walnut and radicchio salad

Steak with sweet and sour beetroot and horeseradish creme fraiche


Roast snapper with mandarin and fennel sauce

Good Luck Pinbone's Sichuan chilli eggplant with wood-ear fungus


Deep-fried chicken with finger-lime sauce

Soy-roast duck with mandarin


conversion tool