Broccoli Rabe with Sausage over Polenta

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Author: Chef James R. Kirkley, IV

Spicy Italian sausage and broccoli rabe simmer in a flavorful tomato sauce. Served over a mound of creamy polenta, they make a ravishing, rustic Italian meal for a cold winter’s night.

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

1 pound, broccoli rabe – head and ends removed
1/4 cup, il Fustino Sicilian Blend EVOO
6 ounces, Italian sausage – casings removed and meat crumbled
1 medium, onion – chopped
5 cloves, garlic – chopped
large pinch, crushed red pepper flakes – omit if using Hot Italian sausage
1/2 teaspoon, dried thyme
1/4 cup, dry white wine
1 14 ounce can, chopped tomatoes
1 14 ounce can, chicken broth
2 tablespoons, fresh lemon juice
1/4 italian flat leaf parsley – chopped
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup, Pecorino cheese – grated
Basic Polenta
4 cups, Chicken Stock – or water
1 teaspoon, Salt
1/4 teaspoon, white pepper – ground
1 cup, Coarse yellow cornmeal

METHOD

  1. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the broccoli rabe until nearly tender, 4 minutes. Drain and cool under cold water, squeeze and pat dry, then coursely chop.
  2. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the EVOO. Add the sausage and cook over medium heat, breaking sausage up into small pieces, until brown. Add the remaining EVOO, add the onion, garlic, and pepper flakes (if using) to skillet and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, thyme. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe, and parsley and cook, stirring, until tender, 3 minutes.
  3. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the lemon juice and toss.
  4. Serve over Basic Polenta topped with Pecorino cheese
  5. For Basic Polenta: Mix one cup of stock with the cornmeal and stir. This prevents the cornmeal from lumping up when added to the boiling stock.
  6. Bring the remaining stock or water to a boil in a 3 quart sauce pot and add the salt and pepper.
  7. To the boiling stock, pour the cornmeal slurry in a steady stream, stirring constantly until completely added. Simmer over low heat, stirring often, until done, about 45 minutes. When done, polenta will pull away from the sides of the pot and will be soft in texture.
  8. Remove the pot from the heat and finish as desired. Adjust the consistency with stock or water, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  9. Serve as soft polenta immediately or polenta can be poured onto a greased half-sheet pan and refrigerated until cool and firm. Shapes can be cut and sautéed, grilled, or baked.
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