15-Minute Cheesy Polenta with Chunky Tomato Ragu

This quick homemade tomato ragu is packed with vegetables and takes just a few minutes longer than warming up a jar of sauce. Finely chopping the vegetables in a food processor cuts down the cooking time tremendously. Serve it over quick-cooking creamy polenta for a complete meal that's ready in 15 minutes.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 15 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole milk

Kosher salt

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed

1 small yellow onion

1 1/2 cups baby carrots

2 cloves garlic 

1 cup quick-cooking polenta  

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend 

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste

6 cups spring greens mix

1 small lemon 

Directions

  1. Place a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Combine the milk, 3 1/2 cups water and a large pinch of salt in a medium saucepan, cover and set it over medium-high heat.
  2. When the large skillet is hot, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl the pan to coat. Add the sausage and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until lightly browned in parts, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the onion into large chunks. 
  3. Add the onion, carrots and garlic to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the vegetables and a large pinch of salt to the pan with the sausage and cook until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. By this time, the milk and water mixture should be at a strong simmer. Whisk in the polenta and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is thickened and creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the butter and cheese and season with additional salt if needed. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm. 
  5. When the vegetables are slightly softened, stir in the tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are completely tender and the juice from the tomatoes has reduced slightly, 6 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and red pepper flakes if desired.  
  6. Divide the polenta (if the polenta is too thick, whisk in 1/4 to 1/2 cup warm water to thin it out) among 4 bowls and top with the chunky tomato ragu. Toss the greens in a large bowl with the remaining olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some salt and pepper and serve on the side. 

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