Rome is not especially known for its love of polenta, perhaps because its winters are relatively mild compared with those up in true polenta country skirting the southern rim of the Alps, but there is one polenta dish you are bound to find if you visit Rome in the cold weather months, polenta with sausages and spareribs simmered in tomato sauce.
Meanwhile, make your polenta in the usual fashion (see link below).
When you are ready to eat, pour the polenta on to a large serving bowl orâif you really want to eat it in the traditional mannerâon a wooden board. Make a small well in the center with a wooden spoon and into the well place your meat, covered with a generous lathering of sugo. Serve with grated pecorino cheese.
NOTES: You can use white wine instead of red if you prefer (or simply omit the wine altogether if you like). Some recipes call for a soffritto of the 'holy trinity' of onion, carrot and celery, but I prefer this onion and garlic only version. If you like, you can also add some parsley to the soffritto. Some recipes also call for adding a bit of tomato paste (a tablespoon or two) for added flavor. Some recipes also call for some optional peperoncino.
A number of sources will tell you to use fioretto type polenta, which results in a rather soft polenta. It is true that in central and southern ItalyâLazio, Abruzzo and Campania in particularâthere is a preference for softer polenta than is normally eaten in the North. (My grandmother Angelina's polenta was quite soft indeed, almost like a porridge.) But I personally find that this hearty sauce goes better with 'normal' bramata type polenta, cooked rather stiff. Of course, the choice is yours.
Every family in Italy has their own little twist for their family's sauce and this one is very close to ours. My grandmother always made her sauce with pork spareribs. Cooking a bit of pork in a tomato sauce really mellows it out and gives it a richness that is perfect on polenta and pasta.