© Helene Dujardin
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Serves : 4

Spicy Italian sausage and broccoli rabe simmer in a flavorful tomato sauce. Served over a mound of creamy polenta, they make a ravishing, rustic Italian meal for a cold winter's night. If you like, pass grated Parmesan at the table. Slideshow: Winter Comfort Food

How to Make It

Step 1    

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the broccoli rabe until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly. Cut into 2-inch lengths.

Step 2    

In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the sausage and cook, turning, until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove. When cool enough to handle, cut into slices.

Step 3    

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the wine; bring to a simmer. Add the sausage, tomatoes, broth, thyme, and 1 1/4 teaspoons of the salt. Bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe, parsley, and pepper to the sauce; bring to a simmer.

Step 4    

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. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until very thick, about 20 minutes. Serve with the sauce.

Suggested Pairing

This rustic dish wants a red wine, but the broccoli rabe's bite will combine with tannin to create an unpleasant bitterness. Opt for an Italian Barbera; it has minimal tannin.

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