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To celebrate surviving another week in the wild world of academia I decided to invite my girlfriends for dinner. And truthfully my new cooking tools and pan that I got that last weekend were begging to be used.

I decided to start with bagna cauda, which J. and I (watched being) made at our cooking lesson. To amend my recipe posted, allow the mixture to brown over med/high heat. This will also help to mellow the anchovies. I served the bagna cauda with crusty bread, and blanched carrots and zucchini.

For our main I made Sausage, Fennel and Mushroom Ragu with Parmesan Polenta a recipe I found from delicious magazine a while back and been waiting to make. This was my first attempt at polenta and I was definitely a little nervous, but it went great. The dish was really flavourful! I went to a local butcher for freshly made sausage and the high quality meat was definitely the star of the meal.  I followed the recipe exactly so I won’t repost. The only change was I allowed it to simmer longer while we enjoyed our starter, if anything it allowed the flavours to deepen. With the polenta I used Sea to Sky Garlic Rosemary Salt instead of regular salt (if you are a salt person I highly recommended their products!!)

This photo doesn’t really do the meal justice, but a ragu is hard to plate nicely. Very rustic meal, great for a wintery evening.

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The girls arrived with wine – 2 bottles like the great friends that they are! They actually selected a wine T. and I had when we were in Rome dining at Ai Tre Scalini a little watery hole in the Monti district that is a must if you ever find yourself visiting the eternal city.  The Zenato Ripassa Valpolicella is a sentimental favorite of mine and paired really nicely with the Ragu and the chat. I feel this wine would pair well with most things, very easy drinking.

All and all great start to the weekend! 🙂

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