When I told my husband I wanted to start a blog that included recipes, this was the first recipe he suggested I should post. It is one of our family’s favorites and has become my “back-up” meal. I try to always have the ingredients on hand, which isn’t hard since many of them are staples you always have in the pantry anyway.
This is a great weeknight dinner, as it is ready in thirty minutes or less. It only takes two pots, so easy cleanup. If you haven’t tried polenta before, this is a great recipe to start with, as you mostly taste the sauce. This sauce is a great homemade sauce to use over pasta, too.
Polenta with Sausage Ragu (Serves 4)
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces chicken sausage (about 2 links)
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onions
3 cloves garlic
2 cans (14.5 ounces) no-salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves or Italian seasoning
2 1/4 cups water
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage, and sauté until edges are beginning to brown. Add carrots, cook about 3 minutes, or until sausage browned. Add onion; sauté for about 5 minutes, or until tender.
2. Add garlic; saute 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
3. While sauce is simmering, combine water, chicken broth, cornmeal, and basil (optional) in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until thickened and pulling away from sides of the pan, stirring with whisk or wooden spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese.
4. Serve sauce over polenta, sprinkling with remaining parmesan cheese.
Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):
Protein: 15 g
Fat: 11 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 33 mg
Carbohydrates: 42 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 700 mg
Recipe Notes: You can use whatever chicken sausage that you like. I usually try to find one with a basil or sun-dried tomato flavor. I like carrots in my sauce. I think they add a little sweetness, plus it is a bonus of extra vegetables. If you want to hide them even more, you could grate them, but then add them with the onions. I have tried the more “traditional” method of adding the cornmeal to boiling water for the polenta, but I think the way it’s written in this recipe is much simpler and less likely to yield lumps. If you want to use all water for the polenta, it works. I just think the broth adds a little flavor. We always sprinkle parmesan on top, so I cut down the cheese I mixed in. You could just mix it all in if that is easier for you.
Source: adapted from Cooking Light and Epicurious.com