Monday, February 1, 2010

Sausage Ragu with Polenta

This stick-to-your-ribs meal is perfect for mid-winter nights. It's serious comfort food, pairing well with a glass of red wine and your favorite pajamas. The creamy polenta is a nice counterpoint to the rich ragu, but if polenta's not your thing, serve it with any type of pasta or rice. An arugula salad with a bracing vinaigrette is a fresh way to finish the meal. No dessert necessary.

Sausage Ragu

serves 4, generously

olive oil
1 lb. sausage, removed from casings
1 carrot, diced
1 red onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed or minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes
bay leaf
dried red pepper, crushed
2 thyme sprigs
1/2 t. dried sage
salt and pepper to taste
  • Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add oil, allow it to shimmer, and add sausage. Cook, breaking links up with the back of a wooden spoon, until beginning to brown. Drain excess fat, if necessary.
  • Add carrot, onion and garlic and stir to coat. Add wine and tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat to low, add herbs and a pinch salt, and cook slowly, stirring frequently, for about an hour.
  • Season to taste and serve with polenta (recipe below) or pasta.
serves 4

1 1/2 cups water
1/4 t. salt
6 oz coarse cornmeal or grits
2 T butter
1 oz. Pecorino cheese, finely grated
salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add salt. Slowly pour cornmeal into water, stirring constantly and vigorously with a wooden spoon. When mixture starts to come together and bubble, turn heat as low as possible and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4o minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese. Season to taste.

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