Polenta with Meat Sauce
- SERVINGS: 4
This is comfort food at its finest: a quick-cooking Bolognese sauce, made with sausage, tomatoes, aromatic vegetables, and a touch of light cream, served over a mound of earthy polenta. Of course, you could put the same sauce over fettuccine instead.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds mild Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (from one 15-ounce can)
- 3/4 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
- 6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons light cream
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/3 cups coarse or medium cornmeal
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- In a large deep frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a fork until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Tilt the pan and spoon off all but 2 tablespoons fat. Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the wine and let simmer 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth, 4 tablespoons of the parsley, the bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover, add the pepper, and simmer 5 minutes longer. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the cream and the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the water and the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt to a boil. Add the cornmeal in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the polenta is thick, about 20 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan.
- Serve the polenta topped with the meat sauce. Pass additional Parmesan.
Homey food calls for a simple but flavorful red wine. For a touch of regional authenticity, select a Sangiovese di Romagna.