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Meat Sauce Polenta Recipe

This hearty meat sauce polenta is a wonderfully comforting dish, perfect for a cozy night in. The creamy polenta is served with a rich and flavourful meat sauce, made with Italian sausage and a medley of vegetables, all simmered together until perfectly tender. The result is a meal that warms you from the inside out, satisfying and delicious.

Meat Sauce Polenta Recipe
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Photos of Meat Sauce Polenta Recipe

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The ingredients in this recipe should be relatively easy to find in your local supermarket. However, one ingredient that you might not have on hand is polenta. Polenta is a type of cornmeal that's a staple in Italian cooking. If you can't find it in the pasta or grains section, check the international foods aisle.

Hearty Meat Sauce Polenta Ingredients

Olive oil: This is used to saute the meat and vegetables. It adds a nice flavor to the dish and helps keep everything from sticking to the pan.

Italian sausage: This is the main source of protein in the dish. It adds a lot of flavor to the sauce.

Carrots: These add a bit of sweetness and color to the dish.

Onion: This adds a savory depth to the sauce.

Garlic: This adds a pungent, spicy flavor that balances out the richness of the other ingredients.

Dry white wine: This deglazes the pan and adds a subtle acidity to the sauce.

Crushed tomatoes: These form the base of the sauce.

Low sodium chicken broth: This adds a bit of extra flavor to the sauce.

Parsley: This fresh herb adds a bit of brightness to the dish.

Bay leaf: This adds a subtle, earthy flavor to the sauce.

Salt: This enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.

Black pepper: This adds a bit of heat to the dish.

Light cream: This makes the sauce rich and creamy.

Water: This is used to cook the polenta.

Coarse: This is the type of polenta used in this recipe. It has a nice, hearty texture.

Grated parmesan: This is sprinkled on top of the finished dish for a bit of salty, cheesy goodness.

One reader, Aili Finney says:

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This hearty meat sauce polenta recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are rich and comforting, and the polenta is perfectly creamy. It's a satisfying meal that's easy to make. The combination of the sausage and creamy polenta is simply divine. I highly recommend trying this recipe!

Aili Finney

Techniques Required for Making Hearty Meat Sauce Polenta

How to prepare the meat sauce: A step-by-step guide on how to cook the meat sauce, including browning the sausage, sautéing the vegetables, and simmering the sauce to perfection.

How to make polenta: Detailed instructions on how to cook the polenta, including boiling the water, adding the cornmeal, and stirring in the parmesan until thick and creamy.

How To Make Meat Sauce Polenta

Savory Italian sausages, juicy tomatoes, and light cream makes up the rich and filling meat sauce in this easy-to-follow polenta recipe!

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour



  • 4tbspolive oil
  • lbmild Italian sausage
  • 2carrots
  • 1onion
  • 4garlic cloves
  • cupdry white wine
  • cupstomatoes in thick puree,(from one 15 oz can), canned, crushed
  • ¾cupchicken broth,canned, low sodium
  • 6tbspfresh parsley,chopped
  • 1bay leaf
  • tspsalt
  • ¼tspfresh ground black pepper
  • 3tbsplight cream
  • cupswater
  • 1⅓cupscoarse cornmeal,or medium cornmeal
  • 3tbspgrated parmesan


  1. In a large deep frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a fork for about 3 minutes, until no longer pink.

  2. Tilt the pan and spoon off all but 2 tablespoons fat. Reduce the heat to moderate.

  3. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften. Stir in the wine and let simmer 3 minutes.

  4. Add the tomatoes, broth, 4 tablespoons of the parsley, the bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover, add the pepper, and simmer 5 minutes longer.

  5. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the cream and the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley.

  6. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and the remaining 1¼ teaspoons of salt to a boil. Add the cornmeal in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons oil.

  7. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, for about 20 minutes, until the polenta is thick. Stir in the Parmesan.

  8. Serve the polenta topped with the meat sauce, and enjoy!


  • Calories: 1036.47kcal
  • Fat: 73.82g
  • Saturated Fat: 24.67g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 36.30g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 9.05g
  • Carbohydrates: 54.94g
  • Fiber: 4.43g
  • Sugar: 6.45g
  • Protein: 33.35g
  • Cholesterol: 147.85mg
  • Sodium: 1655.82mg
  • Calcium: 172.05mg
  • Potassium: 905.79mg
  • Iron: 5.37mg
  • Vitamin A: 354.68µg
  • Vitamin C: 23.91mg

Helpful Technique for Perfecting Meat Sauce Polenta

When preparing the polenta, it's important to add the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream while whisking constantly. This prevents the formation of lumps and ensures a smooth, creamy texture. Additionally, frequent stirring while the polenta simmers helps to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remember, the key to perfect polenta is patience and attention.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing This Hearty Dish

Prep ahead: Chop and measure all ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

One-pot wonder: Opt for a large, deep pan to cook the meat sauce and polenta simultaneously, saving time on cleanup.

Multitask: While the meat sauce simmers, use that time to prepare the polenta, maximizing efficiency in the kitchen.

Kitchen organization: Keep your kitchen tidy and organized to easily locate ingredients and utensils, preventing unnecessary time wastage.

Efficient cooking: Use high heat for boiling water and browning the sausage to expedite the cooking process.

Quick cleanup: Wash and put away utensils and tools as you cook to maintain a clean workspace and reduce post-cooking cleanup time.

Substitute Ingredients For Meat Sauce Polenta Recipe

  • olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a similar high smoke point and mild flavor, making it a suitable replacement for olive oil in this recipe.

  • mild Italian sausage - Substitute with beyond meat sausage: For a vegetarian option, beyond meat sausage can be used to provide a similar texture and flavor to the dish.

  • carrots - Substitute with sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes can add a slightly sweet and hearty flavor to the dish, complementing the other ingredients.

  • onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots can provide a milder and slightly sweeter flavor compared to onions, enhancing the overall taste of the sauce.

  • garlic - Substitute with roasted garlic: Roasted garlic can add a deeper and slightly sweeter flavor to the sauce, enhancing its richness.

  • dry white wine - Substitute with chicken or vegetable broth: For a non-alcoholic option, chicken or vegetable broth can be used to deglaze the pan and add depth of flavor to the sauce.

  • canned crushed tomatoes - Substitute with fresh tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes can be used to create a chunkier and fresher sauce, adding a vibrant flavor to the dish.

  • low sodium chicken broth - Substitute with vegetable broth: Vegetable broth can be used as a suitable alternative to chicken broth, providing a similar depth of flavor to the sauce.

  • fresh parsley - Substitute with fresh basil: Fresh basil can add a slightly different herbaceous flavor to the dish, complementing the other ingredients.

  • light cream - Substitute with coconut cream: Coconut cream can provide a dairy-free alternative, adding a creamy texture and a hint of coconut flavor to the sauce.

  • water - Substitute with vegetable broth: Vegetable broth can be used to cook the polenta, infusing it with additional flavor and richness.

  • grated parmesan - Substitute with nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast can provide a cheesy flavor and umami richness, making it a suitable vegan alternative to parmesan.

Best Way to Present Hearty Meat Sauce Over Polenta

  1. Elevate the polenta: Use a ring mold to create a neat, circular base for the meat sauce. This will give the dish a refined and elegant appearance.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle a few sprigs of fresh parsley on top of the meat sauce. The vibrant green color will add a pop of freshness to the dish and enhance its visual appeal.

  3. Incorporate microgreens: Place a small cluster of delicate microgreens on the side of the plate. The tiny leaves will add a touch of sophistication and bring a subtle hint of earthy flavor to the presentation.

  4. Create a drizzle pattern: Use a squeeze bottle to drizzle a swirl of balsamic reduction around the edge of the plate. This not only adds a decorative element but also introduces a hint of sweetness and acidity to complement the savory flavors.

  5. Use elegant tableware: Select a chic ceramic plate or a sleek, modern dish to showcase the polenta and meat sauce. The right tableware can elevate the overall presentation and create a memorable dining experience.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Meat Sauce and Polenta

  • Large deep frying pan: A large, deep pan used for frying and simmering sauces and meats.
  • Fork: A utensil with prongs used for breaking up and stirring ingredients.
  • Wooden spoon: A spoon made of wood, ideal for stirring and mixing ingredients in a hot pan.
  • Medium saucepan: A medium-sized pan used for boiling water and cooking polenta.
  • Whisk: A kitchen tool used for blending and mixing ingredients, particularly for whisking the polenta.
  • Spatula: A flat, broad utensil used for flipping and serving the polenta and meat sauce.
  • Knife: A sharp tool used for chopping and dicing vegetables and garlic.
  • Grater: A tool used for grating parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of the polenta.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Used for accurately measuring ingredients such as chicken broth, cream, and salt.
  • Lid: A cover used for simmering the meat sauce.
  • Whisk: A kitchen tool used for blending and mixing ingredients, particularly for whisking the polenta.
  • Strainer: A tool used for straining and draining the polenta.

Storing and Freezing Hearty Meat Sauce Polenta

  • To store leftover polenta and meat sauce, allow them to cool completely to room temperature before transferring to separate airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.

  • For longer storage, you can freeze the polenta and meat sauce separately:

    • Spoon the cooled polenta into a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible before sealing. Label with the date and freeze for up to 2-3 months.
    • Transfer the cooled meat sauce to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Remove excess air, seal tightly, label with the date, and freeze for up to 3-4 months.
  • To reheat frozen polenta:

    • Thaw the polenta overnight in the refrigerator.
    • Place the thawed polenta in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
    • Alternatively, you can reheat the polenta in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently and adding a splash of water or milk if needed to achieve the desired consistency.
  • To reheat frozen meat sauce:

    • Thaw the meat sauce overnight in the refrigerator.
    • Transfer the thawed sauce to a saucepan and reheat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Add a splash of water or broth if the sauce appears too thick.
  • When reheating, ensure that both the polenta and meat sauce reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before serving to ensure food safety.

How To Reheat Leftover Meat Sauce Polenta

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover polenta in an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. This method helps to retain the moisture and prevent the polenta from drying out.

  • For a quicker option, you can reheat the polenta in the microwave. Place the desired amount in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it with a damp paper towel, and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. The damp paper towel will help keep the polenta moist.

  • To reheat the meat sauce, place it in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until it reaches the desired temperature. If the sauce seems too thick, you can add a splash of chicken broth or water to thin it out.

  • Alternatively, you can reheat the meat sauce in the microwave. Place the desired amount in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap (leaving a small vent for steam to escape), and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until heated through.

  • For a crispy twist, slice the cold polenta into 1/2-inch thick rounds, brush them with olive oil, and grill or pan-fry them until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Serve the grilled polenta rounds topped with the reheated meat sauce for a delicious and texturally interesting meal.

  • If you have a lot of leftover polenta, you can also cut it into bite-sized cubes, toss them with a little olive oil, and bake them in a preheated 400°F (200°C) oven for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown. These polenta croutons make a great topping for the reheated meat sauce or can be served as a side dish.

Interesting Fact About Meat Sauce Polenta

The hearty meat sauce polenta recipe is a comforting and satisfying dish that combines the richness of Italian sausage with the creamy texture of polenta. This dish is perfect for a cozy family dinner or a gathering with friends. The combination of flavors and textures in this recipe creates a hearty and delicious meal that is sure to please everyone at the table. Whether you're a fan of Italian cuisine or just looking for a comforting and filling meal, this recipe is a great choice. Enjoy the warmth and heartiness of this dish, perfect for a chilly evening.

Is Making Hearty Meat Sauce Polenta at Home Cost-Effective?

This hearty meat sauce polenta recipe offers great cost-effectiveness for a household. The combination of mild Italian sausage, carrots, and onion provides a hearty and satisfying meal. The use of affordable ingredients like canned crushed tomatoes and low sodium chicken broth keeps the overall cost reasonable. The versatility of this dish also makes it suitable for various occasions. Overall Verdict: 9/10. Approximate cost for a household of 4 people: $25.

Is This Hearty Meat Sauce Polenta Dish Healthy?

This hearty meat sauce polenta recipe, while comforting and flavorful, leans towards the unhealthy side due to several factors:

  • The use of Italian sausage, which is typically high in saturated fat and sodium
  • The presence of cream, adding additional saturated fat to the dish
  • The generous amount of olive oil used, contributing to the overall fat content
  • The relatively small proportion of vegetables compared to the meat and cornmeal components

However, the recipe does include some nutritious elements, such as the use of carrots, onion, garlic, and tomatoes, which provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The polenta itself is a good source of complex carbohydrates and fiber.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following adjustments:

  • Opt for lean Italian chicken or turkey sausage instead of traditional pork sausage to reduce the saturated fat content
  • Replace the cream with a lower-fat alternative, such as half-and-half or evaporated skim milk, to maintain a creamy texture while cutting down on saturated fat
  • Reduce the amount of olive oil used in the polenta, or substitute a portion of it with a lower-fat cooking spray
  • Increase the proportion of vegetables in the sauce, such as adding diced bell peppers, mushrooms, or zucchini, to boost the nutrient content and fiber
  • Use low-sodium chicken broth and canned tomatoes to help control the overall sodium levels in the dish
  • Serve the polenta and meat sauce with a side salad or steamed green vegetables to balance out the meal and add extra nutrients

Editor's Opinion on This Hearty Meat Sauce Polenta Recipe

This hearty meat sauce polenta recipe is a delightful combination of rich flavors and comforting textures. The savory Italian sausage and aromatic vegetables create a robust sauce, while the creamy polenta provides a luscious base. The addition of white wine and fresh parsley elevates the dish, offering a perfect balance of flavors. The recipe's simplicity allows the ingredients to shine, making it a satisfying and impressive meal. Whether enjoyed as a family dinner or a special gathering, this dish is sure to please the palate and warm the soul.

Enhance Your Meat Sauce Polenta Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Herb Roasted Potatoes: Try serving the hearty meat sauce polenta with some crispy garlic herb roasted potatoes for a delicious and satisfying side dish.
Grilled Vegetables: For a lighter option, pair the polenta with a side of colorful and flavorful grilled vegetables to add a pop of freshness to the meal.
Creamy Mushroom Risotto: Indulge in a creamy and rich mushroom risotto as a luxurious accompaniment to the meaty polenta, creating a comforting and hearty meal.
Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette: Balance out the richness of the meat sauce polenta with a refreshing mixed green salad drizzled with tangy balsamic vinaigrette for a burst of flavor and texture.

Alternative Recipes Similar to Hearty Meat Sauce Polenta

Savory Beef Stew: This hearty beef stew is perfect for a cozy night in. Packed with tender beef, potatoes, and carrots, it's a comforting meal that will warm you up from the inside out.
Creamy Chicken Alfredo: Indulge in this rich and creamy chicken alfredo pasta dish. With tender chicken and a velvety smooth alfredo sauce, it's a decadent meal that will satisfy your cravings.
Fresh Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing: Enjoy a refreshing and vibrant fruit salad tossed in a zesty honey-lime dressing. This colorful dish is a perfect way to showcase the natural sweetness of seasonal fruits.
Butternut Squash Soup with Crispy Sage: Cozy up with a bowl of velvety butternut squash soup topped with crispy sage. This comforting soup is the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors, making it a delightful starter or light meal option.
Decadent Chocolate Lava Cake: Treat yourself to a sinfully indulgent chocolate lava cake with a molten, gooey center. This elegant dessert is sure to impress and satisfy any chocolate lover's cravings.

Appetizers and Desserts to Complement Hearty Meat Sauce Polenta Recipe

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory stuffed mushrooms are a delightful way to start your meal. The combination of earthy mushrooms, savory sausage, and creamy cheese creates a burst of flavor in every bite. The perfect balance of textures and flavors will leave your guests wanting more.
Crispy Zucchini Fritters: Crispy zucchini fritters are a light and flavorful appetizer that will impress your guests. The crispy exterior gives way to a tender, flavorful interior, and the zesty dipping sauce adds a perfect tangy kick. These fritters are a great way to showcase the fresh flavors of summer zucchini.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and decadent flavor will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Berry Parfait: Layered with fresh berries, creamy yogurt, and crunchy granola, this berry parfait is a delightful combination of sweet and tangy flavors. It's a light and refreshing dessert that's perfect for any occasion.

Why trust this Meat Sauce Polenta Recipe:

This recipe is a testament to the art of Italian cuisine, featuring mild Italian sausage and parmesan for authentic flavors. The use of fresh parsley and garlic adds depth and aroma, while the addition of dry white wine infuses richness. The methodical process of simmering the meat sauce and preparing the polenta showcases a dedication to traditional cooking techniques. The Sangiovese di Romagna wine recommendation further emphasizes the commitment to an immersive dining experience. With a harmonious blend of ingredients and meticulous instructions, this recipe exudes trustworthiness and culinary expertise.

Share your thoughts and experiences with the Meat Sauce Polenta Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
Can I use a different type of meat in the sauce?
Yes, you can use ground beef, ground turkey, or even ground chicken as a substitute for the Italian sausage. Just adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Can I make the polenta ahead of time?
Absolutely! You can make the polenta ahead of time and reheat it when you're ready to serve. Just add a little extra liquid when reheating to maintain a creamy texture.
Can I freeze the meat sauce?
Yes, the meat sauce freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Can I omit the wine from the sauce?
If you prefer not to use wine, you can simply omit it from the recipe. You can add a splash of balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice to add a touch of acidity and depth of flavor.
Can I use instant polenta instead of coarse polenta?
Yes, you can use instant polenta if that's what you have on hand. Just follow the package instructions for the correct liquid to polenta ratio and cooking time.

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