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Polenta with Sausage, Tomato and Olive Ragout

  • ACTIVE: 20 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 40 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 6
  • FAST
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 medium onion, chopped
  3. One 28-ounce can peeled Italian tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  4. 1/2 cup red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot
  5. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  6. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  7. 1 teaspoon sugar
  8. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  9. Pinch of crushed red pepper
  10. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  11. 6 fresh sweet pork sausages (about 2 pounds)
  12. 7 cups water
  13. 3/4 cup Calamata olives, pitted
  14. 1 1/2 cups instant polenta
  15. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  16. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  17. 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  18. Flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately low heat until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, red wine, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, sugar, oregano and crushed pepper; season with salt and pepper. Simmer the ragout until it thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the sausages in 1 cup of the water over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and thickly slice crosswise on the diagonal, then stir into the ragout with the olives. Keep warm.
  3. In a large saucepan, bring the remaining 6 cups of water to a boil with 2 teaspoons of salt. Add the polenta and cook, stirring, until thick, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, rosemary and 1/2 cup of the cheese; season with salt and pepper. Transfer the polenta to a large platter and make a well in the center. Ladle the sausage ragout into the well, garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese and parsley leaves and serve.

Suggested Pairing

The berry fruit flavors of a California Zinfandel are a nice contrast to the polenta's rich tomato ragout. Pick a full-bodied example that will stand up to the sausage.

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