Tag Archives: sausage

Polenta & Sausage Ragu

In the middle of the week, I often find myself hungry for something hearty from running around doing random things, but pressed for time since I have more random things to run and do! I was so glad to discover how easy it is to make polenta (when I made Polenta Stuffed Peppers) because it really doesn’t take much time, is ridiculously inexpensive, and is sooo warm, creamy and filling. Strangely enough, I am not a huge fan of grits, which are basically the same thing but made with white corn meal. Isn’t that odd? We still have tomatoes ripening on our counter from our green tomato harvest before the first frost, and I had some grilled green peppers and onions and some basil frozen, so I was able to mix up a simple fresh ragu to top it off.

Polenta & Sausage Ragu




  •  2 c. coarsely ground cornmeal
  • 6 c. water
  • 4 T. fresh basil (I had chopped and frozen some leaves from my garden in ice cube trays with a touch of water)
  • 1 tsp. Herbs de Provence (Quartz Hill Farm)
  • 1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 green pepper (mine was frozen from Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 1 small onion (mine was frozen from Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce (mine was leftover homemade)
  • 5-6 roma tomatoes (my garden)


  1. Mix cornmeal with one cup of the water. Bring remaining 5 c. to boil in saucepan.
  2. When water boils, add cornmeal/water mixture to saucepan and stir well.
  3. Chop half basil leaves and add with Herbs de Provence to cornmeal mixture.
  4. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and creamy, about 20 minutes.


    Stirring Polenta

  5. Meanwhile, brown sausage in skillet.
  6. Slice peppers and onion and add to sausage in skillet, cooking until onion is translucent.
  7. Chop tomatoes and add to skillet. Cook 1 minute.
  8. Add spaghetti sauce and reduce heat, simmering until tomatoes have cooked and sauce is hot.
  9. Serve polenta topped with sausage ragu.
Polenta & Sausage Ragu

This will stick to your ribs!

Midweek Menu: Zuppa Toscana

When we used to be more likely to frequent chain restaurants, one of my husband’s favorites was always the Olive Garden (I am fairly certain he still craves their alfredo). My staple when we had a meal there was Zuppa Toscana soup. I liked that it was creamy, but not too heavy, and zesty. The balance of sausage, kale, potatoes and spicy red pepper worked for me, and I’ve always wanted to try making it at home, but I had kind of forgotten about it. Then, last week at the farmer’s market, I stumbled across some Toscana Kale, and the name reminded me of the soup! So, I headed home to try making a batch of this restaurant favorite. The results were successful (and less salty!), except for the absence of those processed, frozen, yet addictive, breadsticks.

Zuppa Toscana



Perfectly in season ingredients!

  • 1/2 lb. spicy Italian sausage, bulk or casing removed (I had sweet from Valley View Farms, so I added red pepper flakes when I cooked the sausage)
  • 1 onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1/3 c. white wine
  • 2 medium potatoes (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 1 bunch kale (to make 2 c. chopped, from Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 2 c. chicken stock (homemade from Valley View Farms chicken bones)
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 c. milk (Keepsake Farm)


  1. Crumble sausage and cook in dutch oven, then remove with slotted spoon to set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, dice onion and mince garlic.
  3. Add onion and garlic to sausage drippings and cook and stir over medium heat until onions are translucent.
  4. Meanwhile, dice potatoes and chop kale.
  5. Add wine to pan, scraping up browned bits from bottom.
  6. Add potatoes, kale, broth and water to dutch oven.
  7. Bring pot to boil, then cover, reduce heat and let simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  8. Return sausage to dutch oven.


    Just after adding sausage back to soup.

  9. Add milk and stir.
  10. Serve hot with fresh ground black pepper and crusty bread.


What’s for Dinner?

Can you figure out what I made for a weekend dinner based on these local ingredients? Check back for the recipe on Friday and see if you were right!


olive oil, milk, flour, butter, potatoes, beets, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, cheese (this is garlic herb jack), sausage (this is apricot jalepeño)

What’s for Dinner?

Can you figure out what I made for a weekend dinner based on these ingredients? Check back for the recipe on Friday and see if you were right!

Ingredients: Set 1

flour, baking powder, eggs, plain yogurt, salt

Boiled Potatoes

boiled potatoes

Ingredients: Set 3

butter, salt, cheese (this is bleu and gouda)

Ingredients: Set 4

onion, garlic, smoked sausage

Leave your guess as a comment and make sure you check back on Friday!

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