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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. 1 pound broccoli rabe, tough stems removed
  2. 1/4 cup olive oil
  3. 1 1/3 pounds hot or mild Italian sausage
  4. 1 medium onion, chopped
  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 1/4 cup dry white wine
  7. One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes in thick puree
  8. 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  9. 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  10. 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  11. 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  12. 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  13. 4 1/2 cups water
  14. 1 1/3 cups coarse or medium cornmeal
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Spoon the polenta onto dinner plates and top with the sausage and broccoli rabe ragout.

Suggested Pairing

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.