Sausage and Broccoli Rabe with Polenta
- SERVINGS: 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.
- 1 pound broccoli rabe, tough stems removed
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/3 pounds hot or mild Italian sausage
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (from a 14-ounce can)
- 1 1/2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black 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. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly. Cut into 2-inch lengths.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.