This has got to be one of my all-time favorite recipes! I have made it time and time again for company and always end up giving out the recipe at the end of the night.
I don’t think that I had ever eaten fennel until I made this recipe, but now I’m hooked! Fennel has the flavor of licorice. When cooked, that flavor becomes much more mild and takes on a creamy texture. The sausage is nice and spicy for that added kick. Sautee all of this up in one big pan and serve on top of some creamy, cheesy polenta. Behold the beauty that is on your dinner plate!
Sausage and Fennel Ragout with Creamy Polenta
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb bulk Italian sausage use mild if you prefer less spicy
- 1 large red onion thinly sliced
- 1 in large fennel bulb cut half lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 tablespoon dried
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup quick-cooking polenta
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add in sausage, breaking it up as it cooks, until browned, 4-5 minutes.
Add in the red onion, fennel, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes or until the vegetables wilt and the onions become translucent.
While the vegetables are cooking, start the polenta: In a saucepan, combine 2 ½ cups chicken broth and milk; season with salt and pepper.
Place over med-high heat and bring to a simmer.
Back to the vegetables: once the vegetables have wilted, add in the white wine and remaining 1 ½ cups chicken broth to the skillet; increase heat to high and bring up to a simmer.
Cook about 4-5 minutes, to reduce liquids by half; stir in the chopped parsley.
To the simmering chicken stock/milk, add in the polenta; whisk constantly until the cornmeal masses together.
Add in the butter and grated cheese; stir to combine (if polenta becomes too thick, add more broth or milk).
Serve polenta topped with ragout; garnish with more Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Wine Pairings for Sausage & Fennel Ragout:
- I paired this ragout with a Brut Rosé. This would also go great with a Pinot Gris.
- For a red, try a big, bold Syrah.