← Back to Search Results
stewing European, Italian
Creamy Soft Polenta with Meat Ragu

Photo by:
Comments: 2
 

Recipe

I serve this traditional side dish as an antipasto. Guess what? I like it more as a small plate to kick off a meal than as a side. On the other hand, you could serve this in larger amounts as a side dish or even instead of a pasta course. And because the ragu is even better the second day, I make a lot, so you will have leftovers. Soft polenta, blended with plenty of cheese and butter, is lusciously creamy and becomes the delicious base for the meaty mushroom and sausage ragu.

This is a terrific start to a fall meal of fish and a salad. Polenta may be yellow or white; I prefer yellow because of its color and slightly earthy, intense flavor.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

Ragu:

  • ¾ cup dried porcini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
  • 1 pound pork butt, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • ½ pound Spanish onions, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1½ tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Two 14-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, roughly chopped, juice reserved
  • ½ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground fennel seed
  • 1 bay leaf

Polenta:

  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup yellow polenta or cornmeal
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Torn fresh basil
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

1. To make the ragu: Put the mushrooms in a small bowl and pour the wine over them. Set aside to soak and hydrate for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, reserving both the mushrooms and the wine. Strain the wine through a fine-mesh sieve or chinois.

2. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it into pieces with a wooden spoon, for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned and much of the fat is rendered. Using a slotted spoon, lift the sausage from the pan and set aside. Add the pork and beef to the fat in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, lift the meat from the pan and add it to the sausage. Leave the fat in the pan.

3. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the reserved wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer briskly for about 3 minutes or until reduced by half.

4. Return the meat to the pan, season again with salt and pepper, and add the stock, tomatoes, basil, oregano, fennel, bay leaf, and reserved mushrooms. Simmer gently for approximately 1 hour, or until the meat is tender. Skim any fat that rises to the top of the pan during cooking. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

5. To make the polenta: Put the stock and the cream in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Slowly pour the polenta into the hot liquid, whisking briskly to prevent clumping. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.

6. Add the cheese and butter, stirring gently until incorporated.

7. Spoon a mound of soft polenta on each of 4 or 6 plates or shallow bowls. Ladle the ragu over the polenta and garnish with basil, parsley, and grated Parmesan.


© 2007 Rick Tramonto
 

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

This recipe serves 6. Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving, and does not include additional Parmesan for serving.

1252kcal (63%)
262mg (26%)
19mg (32%)
394mcg RAE (13%)
1406mg
115mg
52g
8g
5g
43g
291mg (97%)
1512mg (63%)
42g (211%)
94g (145%)
6mg (34%)
 

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.
  • Chris Styler

    12.21.09 Flag comment

    Hi jms,
    Thanks for pointing this out. We contacted Rick T and he made the changes you see now in the recipe. Happy Holidays!

  • jms

    12.16.09 Flag comment

    Beware! A few of the measurements aren't correct in this recipe. Do not use 2 cups of oil, 2 tablespoons will be much better. Also, the dried porcini mushrooms aren't correct either. Maybe should be 3/4 C., not 3/4 lb. I added an additional can of tomatoes too. Otherwise it turned out pretty well.

 

Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

the-new-basics-cookbook The New Basics Cookbook
by Sheila Lukins, Julee Rosso
american-vegan-kitchen American Vegan Kitchen
by Tamasin Noyes
the-sweet-life The Sweet Life
by Kate Zuckerman
amor-y-tacos Amor Y Tacos
by Deborah Schneider
the-gourmet-cookbook The Gourmet Cookbook
by Ruth Reichl
the-provence-cookbook The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
lucindas-authentic-jamaican-kitchen Lucinda's Authentic Jamaica...
by Lucinda Scala Quinn
julias-kitchen-wisdom Julia's Kitchen Wisdom
by Julia Child
cooking-for-friends Cooking for Friends
by Gordon Ramsay
west-coast-cooking West Coast Cooking
by Greg Atkinson
125-best-vegan-recipes 125 Best Vegan Recipes
by Maxine Effenson Chuck, Beth Gurney
the-asian-grandmothers-cookbook The Asian Grandmothers Cook...
by Patricia Tanumihardja
cooking-with-too-hot-tamales Cooking with Too Hot Tamales
by Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger
Already a member? Sign in here
Close_overlay

Sign up to Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new cookbooks, Cookstr features, and other exclusives we know you'll love
Spinner
By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
New to Cookstr? Sign up here
Close_overlay

Sign in to Cookstr

Keep me logged in
close
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?