Sausage and Broccoli Rabe with Polenta
- SERVINGS: 4
For a rustic Italian meal, sausage and broccoli rabe are simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce and served over creamy polenta. If you like, pass freshly grated Parmesan cheese at the table.
- 1 pound broccoli rabe, tough stems removed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/3 pounds hot or mild Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes in thick puree
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/3 cups coarse or medium cornmeal
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the broccoli rabe until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, then rinse in cold water and drain again thoroughly. Cut into 2-inch pieces and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the extra-virgin olive oil in a large heavy skillet. Add the sausage and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a plate and let cool slightly. Slice the sausage into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.
- Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the wine and bring to a simmer. Stir in the sausage slices, tomatoes, stock, thyme and 1 1/4 teaspoons of the salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe, parsley and pepper and return to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the water and the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cornmeal in a slow steady stream, then whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the polenta is thickened, about 20 minutes.
- Spoon the polenta onto dinner plates and top with the sausage and broccoli rabe ragout.
This dish wants a red wine without a high level of tannins, which could combine with the broccoli rabe to create an unpleasant bitterness. One excellent choice: an Italian Barbera with minimal tannin, such as Michele Chiarlo Barbera d'Asti.