Polenta with Sausage and Spareribs

Polenta con salsicce e spuntature (Polenta with Sausage and Spareribs)

In Lazio, piatti unici, polenta by Frank20 Comments

Rome is not especially known for its love of polenta, perhaps because its winters are relatively mild compared with those up in true polenta country skirting the southern rim of the Alps, but there is one polenta dish you are bound to find if you visit Rome in the cold weather months, polenta with sausage and spareribs simmered in tomato sauce.

You make the sugo very much as if you were making a southern-style ragù, only you use only ‘sweet’ sausages and pork spareribs:

Ingredients

Serves 4-6 persons

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped (optional)
  • Olive oil or lard
  • 4-6 sweet Italian sausages (or more if you want)
  • 4-6 spareribs (or more if you want)
  • A splash of red wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large cans of tomatoes

Directions

Start out, as usual, with a soffritto, this one of onion and, if you like, a bit of garlic sautéed gently in olive oil or (better) lard until soft and translucent.

Turn up the heat a bit and add your sausages and spareribs. (I fine that one rib and one sausage per person is a healthy portion for a moderate appetite, but you may want to a add few more of each in case someone wants seconds.) Allow the meat to brown lightly. Depending on the size of the pot and how much meat you are using, you may need to do the browning in batches to avoid crowding them.

Once lightly browned, season with salt and pepper, and then pour over a nice slurp of red wine and allow it to evaporate.

Then add enough tomato purée (in the US, use ‘crushed’ canned tomatoes or whole canned tomatoes passed through the largest holes of a food mill) to cover the meat. Lower the heat and cover. Let the sugo simmer for a good hour or more, until the meat is tender and the sauce is nice and thick and rich.

Meanwhile, make a batch of polenta in the usual fashion (see our post on How to Make Polenta).

When you are ready to eat, pour the polenta on to a large serving bowl or—if you really want to eat it in the traditional manner—on a communal wooden board known in Italian as a spianatoia. Make a small well in the center with a wooden spoon and into the well place your meat, covered with a generous lathering of sugo. Serve with grated pecorino cheese.

Notes

You can use white wine instead of red if you prefer (or simply omit the wine altogether if you like). Some recipes for polenta with sausage and spareribs call for a soffritto of the ‘holy trinity’ of onion, carrot and celery, but I prefer this onion and garlic only version. If you like, you can also add some parsley to the soffritto. Some recipes also call for adding a bit of tomato paste (a tablespoon or two) for added flavor. Some recipes also call for some optional peperoncino

A number of sources will tell you to use fioretto type polenta, which results in a rather soft polenta. It is true that in central and southern Italy—Lazio, Abruzzo and Campania in particular—there is a preference for softer polenta than is normally eaten in the North. (My grandmother Angelina’s polenta was quite soft indeed, almost like a porridge.) But I personally find that this hearty sauce goes better with the ‘normal’ bramata type polenta, cooked rather stiff. Of course, the choice is yours.

Polenta con salsicce e spuntature (Polenta with Sausages and Spareribs)

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Polenta con salsicce e spuntature (Polenta with Sausages and Spareribs)

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped (optional)
  • Olive oil or lard
  • 4-6 sweet Italian sausages (or more if you want)
  • 4-6 spareribs (or more if you want)
  • A splash of red wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large cans of tomatoes

Directions

  1. Sauté onion and, if you like, a bit of garlic sautéed gently in olive oil or (better) lard until soft and translucent.
  2. Turn up the heat a bit and add your sausages and spareribs. Allow the meat to brown lightly. Depending on the size of the pot and how much meat you are using, you may need to do the browning in batches to avoid crowding them.
  3. Once lightly browned, season with salt and pepper, and then pour over a nice slurp of red wine and allow it to evaporate.
  4. Then add enough tomato purée to cover the meat. Lower the heat and cover. Let simmer for a good hour or more, until the meat is tender and the sauce is nice and thick and rich.
  5. Meanwhile, make a batch of polenta in the usual fashion (see Notes).
  6. When you are ready to eat, pour the polenta on to a large serving bowl or—if you really want to eat it in the traditional manner—on a communal wooden board known in Italian as a spianatoia. Make a small well in the center with a wooden spoon and into the well place your meat, covered with a generous lathering of sauce. Serve with grated pecorino cheese.

For instructions on making polenta, visit our post on How to Make Polenta at http://memoriediangelina.com/2010/01/24/how-to-make-polenta.

http://memoriediangelina.com/2013/01/01/polenta-con-salsicce-e-spuntature/
FrankPolenta con salsicce e spuntature (Polenta with Sausage and Spareribs)

Comments

  1. Pingback: Slow Cooker Polenta with Sausage Ragù | Memorie di Angelina

  2. duespaghetti

    We’ve tapped your spuntature recipe more than once, Frank – most recently when four cousins and their families can to visit from Chicago recently. We served the polenta on two large spianatoie, or spianatore as they are often called in Rome, gave everyone a fork, and the elbowing began!

  3. Trix

    Happy New Year Frank!! Polenta is one of my very favorite things on which to place all manner of lovely red sauces … Poppa Trix is not as enamored of it as I am, but that is just too bad because I need to make this. I think the sausages will make it easier for him to bear. ; )

  4. Simona

    Winter weather would make my father ask my mother to make polenta in a style similar to yours. My mother would serve it in wooden plates, like you, but when we were at my aunt’s, we would have it on the spianatoia, the only example of communal eating (i.e., from the same “plate”) I have known growing up. Happy New Year, Frank!

      1. Amanda Elles

        Happy New Year Frank…love this recipe just as is. I agree with you about the carrot. I will leave it out..
        I cooked some polenta the a few weeks ago and I cooked a bunch of mustard greens (stems removed) in olive oil and a tad of water. Chopped up fine…added to the polenta and it was delicious. The following week I took some stone ground corn (my son raised) and cooked 1 3/4 cup of the cornmeal with 3 cups 1/2 & 1/2 and 3 cups of chicken stock and stirred it for about 30 min. and added the chopped cooked mustard greens to it……..also out of this world. The second cooking I topped up with some grated smoked Gouda cheese.

  5. Claudia

    It’s zero outside. This will warm me right up. Love polenta as a base – and never did it with ribs. Must amend. Happy New Year, Frank!

    1. Frank Fariello

      Happy New Years to you as well, Claudia! A warming dish of polenta with sausages and spareribs really is hard to beat on a cold winter’s night.

  6. ciaochowlinda

    Frank – This is one of my all time favorites and I brought out my copper paiolo and made a big batch two nights ago. There’s a restaurant in Trastevere where I used to eat a great version of this that looks just like your photo.

  7. Drick

    OMG … the sauce with sausage & ribs, a match made in heaven – and with creamy polenta? … now, you're just making me crazy…

  8. Danielle

    Wonderful information on the different types of polenta. Was wondering what the difference between tomato paste in Italy is compared to that found in the US is.
    Wonderful hearty recipe for the cold weather we're in these days. Thanks!

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