What is ragù exactly? “Ragù is a class of Italian pasta sauces made with ground or minced meat, vegetables and, occasionally, tomatoes.” Sounds do-able! I turned to Saveur for inspiration and found this very easy sausage ragù sauce that they serve with… Polenta! Let’s do this…
I did make one slight change to the recipe because I opened up a can of crushed tomatoes instead of whole peeled tomatoes by accident. They suggest crushing the canned tomatoes so I figured this would work and went ahead.
You will need: 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 lb Italian sausages (casings removed), 1 minced red onion, 4 minced cloves garlic, 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes (crushed by hand), 1 1⁄2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1⁄4 cup finely chopped basil leaves, Kosher salt (to taste), freshly ground black pepper (to taste) and some Parm.
Making The Ragù
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or so.
Add tomatoes, bring to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer until thick. Because I was using crushed tomatoes, this did not take very long. I cooked my sauce for 10 minutes to try and make it less raw but if you are using whole tomatoes that you crushed by hand cook 20 minutes.
Add basil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Keep warm while you finish off making your polenta.
Serve over a bowl of polenta and garnish with some whole basil leaves and shards of shaved Parmesan.
I can see why people add a meaty sauce to polenta—they do go together quite well although it is kind of like having a meat sauce on top of creamy mashed potatoes (totally different flavours though). The ragù sauce was a little too simple for me. I like wild complex flavours but for my first attempt at a fairly simple sauce I think I did quite well.
I would highly recommend using spicy sausage if you can handle the heat. I think that would make this sauce much more interesting. I should have added red pepper flakes to give this sauce some punch. Next time!