Recipe: Sausage Ragù over Creamy Polenta

Recipe: Sausage Ragù over Creamy Polenta

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Kelli Foster
Mar 7, 2017
Polenta with Sausage Ragu
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

This ultra-comforting weeknight dinner skips the pasta in favor of a cheesy, creamy bowl of polenta as the base for a blanket of hearty sausage ragù.

Inspired by our love for slow-simmered bolognese, this weeknight version blends the richness of crumbled sausage with bright tomatoes and fresh herbs for a fast sauce that will satisfy the whole family.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Meat Sauce Makes the Meal

You can always sear a few sausages for an easy weeknight meal, but this budget-friendly meat can do so much more. Remove the casings and you're well on your way to stretching a single pound of sausage into dinner for the whole family.

Seared crumbled pork is enriched with red wine, tomatoes, and fresh herbs and cooks for about 30 minutes until all the flavors meld.

In the meantime make a creamy polenta to serve it over. This dish is pure comfort food, and a dish you can make when you're looking to make the meat you buy last. Like any good ragù, it tastes even better the next day, so squirrel away some extras to eat as lunch on a soft bun with lots of slaw.

Sausage Ragù over Creamy Polenta

Serves 4

For the ragù:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound uncooked sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1/3 cup red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the polenta:
4 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Make the ragù: Heat the oil in a large, high-sided skillet until shimmering. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned and no longer pink in the middle, 6 to 8 minutes.

Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Cook until the wine is almost fully evaporated.

Add the tomato paste and stir to coat. Add the tomatoes and their juices, broth, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the polenta.

Make the polenta: Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the salt and cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and whisk the polenta continuously until slightly thickened and no longer sticking to the bottom of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes.

Cover and continue cooking, stirring and scraping the sides of the pan every 10 minutes, until the polenta is soft and creamy, 25 to 30 minutes total. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter until fully melted.

Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme and rosemary sprigs from the ragù. Serve the ragù over the polenta.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: Leftover ragù can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Leftover polenta can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat with some milk or water to loosen it up.
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