Sausage and Fennel Ragout with Creamy Polenta

Sausage and Fennel Ragout with Creamy Polenta

Sausage and Fennel Ragout with Creamy Polenta

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

1 lb. bulk sweet Italian sausage

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

1 large fennel bulb, cut in half lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 T. fresh thyme leaves (4 sprigs, stripped and chopped)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 quart chicken stock or broth

1 C. milk

3/4 C. dry white wine

1/4 C. fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

1 C. quick-cooking polenta (found in Italian foods or specialty foods aisles)

2 T. unsalted butter

1/2 C. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus some for garnish


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO. Add the sausage, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon, and cook until browned, 4-5 minutes. Add the red onions, fennel, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes, or until the veggies wilt and the onions become translucent. While the veggies are cooking, start the polenta. In a sauce pot combine 2 1/2 C. chicken stock and 1 C.  milk. Season the liquid with salt and pepper. Place over medium-high heat and bring up to a simmer. Once the veggies have wilted, add the white wine and remaining chicken stock to the skillet. Turn the heat to high and bring up to a simmer. Cook to reduce the liquids by half, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley. To the simmering chicken stock and milk add the polenta and whisk constantly until the cornmeal masses together. Add the butter and grated cheese, stirring to combine. Keep in mind that polenta is very forgiving; if it becomes too thick, you can always add more warm chicken stock or milk. Serve the polenta in a shallow bowl and top with a helping of the sausage and fennel ragout. Garnish with more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano






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