Nothing says comfort food like a rich, hearty tomato sauce poured over a bowl of creamy polenta. This recipe feeds an army—with leftovers—so be prepared to freeze the extras for easy weeknight meals to come, or simply cut the recipe in half.


  • Ragu
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
    • 2 lbs. ground pork
    • 1 onion, minced
    • 2 carrots, minced
    • 2 celery ribs, minced
    • 12 basil leaves, plus more for garnish
    • 1 rosemary stem
    • 3 tablespoons parsley, minced
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
    • 2 cups white wine
    • 10 cups crushed tomatoes
    • Salt
    • Pepper
  • Polenta
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • ½ cup onion, minced
    • 9 cups chicken stock, brought just to a boil
    • 3 cups coarse ground polenta
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish


1. Make the meat ragù: Place the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and pork, and cook until browned. Discard any rendered fat.
2. Add the onion, carrot, celery, basil, rosemary, parsley, oregano and chile flakes. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the wine. Reduce the liquid by half, about 5 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 80 minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper.
3. While the sauce cooks, make the polenta: Place the oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until glassy, about 5 minutes. Next, add the stock and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and slowly add the polenta to the stock, whisking continuously to prevent any clumping. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the polenta is thick. You can serve immediately, spooning the polenta into shallow bowls  topping with the meat ragu. Alternatively, you can pour the polenta onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Once it is cooled, cut into squares and serve with the meat sauce.


Andrew Zimmern


12 servings


European : Mediterranean : Italian



preparation times

• Total Time: 2 Hours