Cooking with Campiche: Spicy pork, mushroom sauce and polenta | Eating

A table full of ingredients including pork, eggplants, onions and mushrooms.


We all love spaghetti and the rich red sauce: Mom’s, Dad’s, Grandma’s, your secret recipe. The meal is common and loved, but we guard our renderings as closely as family secrets.

This morning I felt homebound. As the rain poured down, I thought of an alternative to this beloved meal – something new and unexpected, but in the traditional. I’ve already shared my mom’s recipe, so I bought a nice fresh and spicy sausage and a perfect eggplant from Astoria Co+op and pushed myself forward with something a little different.

I raided the garden for garlic, onions and a fat carrot. And reached into our ridiculously jammed (mostly condiments) fridge for most of the rest. It gave a sigh of relief – another fine meal to save a wet and windy day and a little more space in the icebox.

Toppings and pairings

Chopped ingredients, toppings and accessories.

I’m not sure what to call this concoction, all I know is that it tasted wonderful. I chose polenta over spaghetti as a base and opened a bottle of Spanish Rioja wine. My wife, Laurie, tossed a salad. Asparagus highlighted the page.

Spicy pork and mushroom sauce over polenta


• 1 pound seasoned ground pork

• 1 tablespoon each of butter and virgin

olive oil

• Three cloves of diced garlic

• One large onion, 1/4-inch diced

• Two stalks celery, 1/4-inch diced

• One large carrot, grated

• One large yellow pepper, 1/4-inch

in dice

• One medium eggplant, 1/4-inch diced

• 2 cups sliced ​​mushrooms

• 1/2 cup red wine

• 1 cup homemade beef broth

• A 16-ounce can of diced tomatoes

• 2 tablespoons of tomato paste

• 1 tablespoon of mushroom powder

• 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted

• 1/2 cup heavy cream, optional

• 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

• 2 cups polenta or spaghetti pasta

• Parmesan cheese (can never get


• Salt to taste


Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and an equal amount of extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan. Dice onion, garlic and celery and fry until translucent. Crumble the pork in and brown for about 5 minutes.

Add diced celery, aubergine and grated carrot. Add and sauté the mushrooms for a few minutes then pour in the red wine. Reduce the liquid for a few more minutes then add the stock, tomatoes and chilli flakes.

Sprinkle in a little of the mushroom dust, add the olives and let it simmer for an hour on a low heat. If you choose, a splash of cream enhances the flavor. If necessary, smooth with tomato paste.

Serve over a bed of warm polenta with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. I like to slow cook the polenta in chicken stock and add parmesan at the last minute. Salt to taste. Add a splash of cream to soften the polenta.

David Campiche is a potter, poet, writer and lifelong resident of the Long Beach Peninsula with a keen interest in adventure, fine and culinary arts. Find more about his work at