I’m a big fan of tomatoes and unfortunately, Dave is not. So whenever I get the chance to make a batch of rich, delectably seasoned bolognese, I am on it. It fills me up and the aroma that wafts through the house as it simmers in the kitchen makes me salivate. What I love about this one is I made it to pour over polenta.
Cheesy, dreamy polenta.
Polenta for me can go two ways, sweet or savory. I like to occasionally make a batch of it in a 8×8 inch pan and then refrigerate it for slicing and pan frying the next day for breakfast. A drizzle of maple syrup and cinnamon and that’s one hearty breakfast. For this beautiful bolognese I wanted it over a nice square of cheesy polenta. One of those single serve dinners when I am on my own, as Dave was out of town the other weekend.
For the polenta I add a few sprigs of fresh tied thyme and some fresh black pepper to the boiling water. After 2 minutes I remove what is left of the tied thyme and discard. It’s basically sticks at this point and the water is perfumed with one of my favorite herbs. Using a balloon whisk to incorporate I slowly pour in the dry polenta, whisking to ensure there are no lumps. Allow to cook per package directions.
To the cooking polenta add the heavy cream. It’s what I had on hand, but you could easily exchange this for chicken broth, regular milk or water. I preferred the rich, creamy texture it gives the polenta. After that I added the Romano cheese and using my balloon whisk incorporated all the ingredients and cooked on simmer for another 15 minutes. If it gets too thick you can thin it out with more chicken stock or water, to your liking. Season to taste and take off the heat.
Pour immediately into a greased 8×8 inch pan and refrigerate to firm up if you like, or scoop on a plate and pour the bolognese over and top with parmesan cheese.
While the polenta was firming up I made the bolognese.
Dice the onion, chop the garlic, set aside. In a large skillet add the olive oil and sauté onion for 2 minutes, add the garlic and sausage. Crumble with spoon and brown. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook on low until wine is reduced by half. Add the crushed tomatoes, red pepper, sugar, basil and season with salt to taste. Cook on simmer for 30 minutes. It should be thick and if not, continue to simmer. Pour over polenta and serve hot. Buon Appetito!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ lb hot Italian sausage
- 1 cup red wine
- 32 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
- pinch red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp sugar
- ¼ chopped fresh basil
- kosher salt to taste
- 3 cups water
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 cup dry polenta
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup grated Romano cheese
- kosher salt to taste
- In a large stock pot bring the 3 cups of water up to a boil. Using kitchen string, tie thyme and drop in the water. Continue to a boil and remove thyme bundle after 2 minutes.
- Using a balloon whisk, slowly pour the dry polenta in the thyme scented boiling water and whisk to avoid lumps. Cook on low for 10 minutes. This will sputter so keep on low and watch out. Add the heavy cream, black pepper, grated Romano cheese. Stir to incorporate.
- Simmer for another 15 minutes more. If it gets too thick you can thin it out with more chicken stock or water, to your liking. Season to taste and take off the heat.
- Pour immediately into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan and refrigerate to firm up. Feel free to scoop onto a plate and top with bolognese if you like at this point. I liked the square shape and simply reheated it in the microwave for a minute.
- Dice the onion, chop the garlic, set aside. In a large skillet add to olive oil and sauté onion for 2 minutes, add the garlic and sausage. Crumble with spoon and brown. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook on low until wine is reduced by half.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, red pepper, sugar, basil and season with salt to taste. Cook on simmer for 30 minutes. Pour over polenta and serve.