This polenta con spuntature e salsiccia is the ultimate Italian comfort dish. A traditional sausage and ribs ragu slow-cooked and used to top over creamy polenta. So delicious!

This polenta dish holds a special place in Italy, often enjoyed as the quintessential Sunday family meal. It’s hearty, bursting with flavor, and a beloved recipe passed down through generations, known by every nonna and mamma from a young age.

This is my mother in law recipe and the one I’ve been making for years because it never fails. The sausage and ribs sugo sauce is so flavorful and goes perfect with the creamy polenta.

Polenta con spuntature e salsiccia served on plates with a glass of red wine on the side.

Ingredients

  • Pork ribs: For this recipe, spareribs are the most common, they are known in Italian as spuntature di maiale.
  • Salsicce: Known also as Italian sausage, you can use any type (sweet or spicy).
  • Tomato sauce: Use tomato passata for a smooth sauce, or you can also use crushed canned tomatoes and blend them.
  • Polenta: I am using Italian instant polenta which is more easy to find and quicker to make. It usually comes in small boxes that yield about 4-6 portions. You can usually find it in other countries as fine cornmeal.
  • Soffritto: This is a mixture of carrot, onion, and celery. A basic preparation used in many Italian traditional recipes.
  • Wine: This is an optional ingredient. You can use either dry white wine or red wine.
  • Seasonings: Salt and pepper.
  • Cheese: Use pecorino or parmigiano cheese for serving.

How to Make Polenta con Spuntature e Salsicce

Heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large pan. Add first the spareribs and cook for 5 minutes.

Add then the sausages and keep cooking everything flipping constantly until the ribs and sausages are slightly browned on all sides.

Spareribs and Italian sausage cooked until brown in a pan.

Mix in the Italian soffritto and stir for 3-4 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook for 1-2 minutes scrapping the bottom of the pan.

Soffritto vegetables added and cooked along with sausages and spare ribs in a pan.

Pour the tomato passata. Season with salt and pepper and add enough water to slightly cover the ingredients.

Tomato passata sauce added to the pan.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, place the lid covering loosely the pan, and cook for 2 hours mixing from time to time and adding more water if necessary.

At the end of the cooking, remove the lid and turn the heat to high, cooking until the stew is nicely thick.

The spareribs and sausages sumo fully cooked.

Make the creamy polenta

Place a deep pan with water and add a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then add the polenta cornmeal slowly while stirring with a whisk to prevent lumps.

Set the heat to medium-low and cook the polenta stirring for 8-10 minutes or as instructed in the package.

Creamy polenta in a pot, fully cooked.

To make sure you end with a creamy polenta mixture, add more water if necessary. The amount of water will depend on the brand of your cornmeal so always read the instructions on the package!

Serve the polenta con spuntature

To serve, spoon the polenta into serving plates or, if you have one, use a spianatoia (a large wooden platter). Use the back of a serving spoon to make a small well in the middle.

Top with plenty of sausage and ribs sugo, usually a sausage per person and two spare ribs are enough per serving.

Italian polenta con spuntature e salsiccia sugo.

Generously sprinkle with of pecorino or parmigiano cheese and serve the polenta con spuntature immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Keep the creamy cornmeal polenta as simple as this recipe suggests, there’s no need for extra ingredients because the star of this dish is the sauce with sausage and ribs!
  • The key for a flavorful stew (sugo) is to slow cook it for at least 2 hours, it will make the spareribs to be incredibly tender! If you want, you can also use a slow cooker to make the stew but remember that you will need less liquid.
  • If you want to remove the casings from the sausages, you can then crumble it and cook it with the ribs.
  • My mother-in-law always crumbles one or two sausages in the stew, to make it more flavorful. This is her little secret for her famous polenta con spuntature dish!
  • I like to add a little bit of peperoncino piccante to the sugo sauce, this is optional but it adds a nice spicy kick.
  • Polenta con spuntature is what we call in Italy a piatto unico, this means is a hearty meal that features both a main dish (the spuntature stew) with an accompaniment which is the creamy polenta.
Close-up of polenta con spuntature dish.

How to Store

Assembled polenta con spuntature leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Or you can store the stew separately in the freezer for up to 3 months.

For reheating, I prefer using the microwave if I have assembled polenta leftovers as it’s quick and more convenient. But if the polenta and the sugo stew are separated, you can easily reheat the stew in a pan on the stovetop.

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Polenta con spuntature e salsiccia recipe.

Polenta con Spuntature e Salsicce

6 servings
Creamy polenta served with a flavorful sauce made of spareribs (spuntature) and sausage. A hearty Italian dish perfect to serve for large family gatherings and Sunday meals!
prep 15 minutes
cook 2 hours 20 minutes
total 2 hours 35 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound instant polenta (cornmeal)
  • 1 ½ pounds pork spareribs
  • 6 Italian sausages (spicy or sweet)
  • 4 cups tomato passata sauce
  • ½ cup soffritto (onion, carrot, and celery finely chopped)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • parmigiano or peccorino cheese (for serving)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large pan. Add first the spareribs and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the sausages and keep cooking everything flipping constantly until slightly browned on all sides.
  • Mix in the Italian soffritto and minced garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly translucent.
  • Pour in the wine and cook for 1-2 minutes scrapping the bottom of the pan.
  • Pour the tomato passata. Season with salt and pepper and add enough water to slightly cover the ingredients.
  • Bring to a simmer and loosely cover the pan. Cook over medium-low heat for 2 hours, mixing from time to time and adding more water if necessary.
  • At the end of the cooking, remove the lid and turn the heat to high. Cook until the sauce has thickened enough to cover the back of a wooden spoon.

Make the polenta & serve

  • Place a deep pan with water and add a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then add the polenta slowly while stirring with a whisk to prevent lumps.
  • Set the heat to medium-low and cook the polenta stirring for 8-10 minutes or as instructed in the package. If necessary add more water to achieve a creamy mixture.
  • Spoon the creamy polenta on serving plates. Use the back of a serving spoon to make a small well in the middle.
  • Top with plenty of the sausage and ribs stew and then add a generous sprinkle of parmigiano or pecorino cheese. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • The key to a flavorful stew is to slow cook it for at least 2 hours, it will make the spareribs to be incredibly tender. You can also use a slow cooker to make the stew but remember to use less liquid.
  • The amount of water will depend on the brand of your cornmeal so always read the instructions on the package!
  • Assembled polenta con spuntature leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Or you can store the stew separately in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 1099kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 74g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 33g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 176mg | Sodium: 2464mg | Potassium: 1308mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 708IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 6mg
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Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.

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