Daikon Edamame Ragù on Creamy Sage Polenta Recipe

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I’ve been obsessed with polenta since my return from Italy. Whether if it’s served pan-fried or creamy, this simple cornmeal staple just ooozes of “comfort”.

I like to drown my polenta with the finest extra virgin olive oil and watch the virescence drip from my fork as I lift it. For me, the magic lies in the way polenta radiates heat from my tummy to the rest of my body for hours.


Polenta, the ultimate comfort food, meet your opponent: Ragù.

Nothing bad can ever come of simmering ground meat until it melds into a hearty sauce that blesses anything it falls upon.

The beauty of a true comfort food is that it can be created from pantry staples and whatever one manages to round up. For me, it’s a package of frozen ground beef, a can of whole tomatoes, onion and garlic, and some dried herbs. I always have an opened bottle of wine handy.


As I scrounged through my fridge, I found a bottle of forgotten pimento olives, half a daikon, and some edamame beans (fresh soy beans).

hmmm… should I? I looked at my awkward ingredients with half hesitation and half curiosity.

What would the Italians think?


I remind myself once more that I’m no longer Italy and I think I’m getting hungry.



  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 1 large can of whole tomatoes, seeds removed
  • 1 small onion, diced finely
  • 1/2 bottle leftover red wine
  • 1/2 small daikon, diced
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup pimento olives, chopped
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • olive oil, salt and pepper

  • 1 cup of polenta/ coarse ground cornmeal
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 dried sage stock (or herb of choice)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • extra virgin olive oil, salt


First, cook the polenta (video post available).

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sweat the shallots with some olive oil for one minute in an oven-safe pot. Add the chicken stock, water, 2 tsp salt, and the sage and bring to a boil.

Slowly add the polenta while whisking quickly to prevent lumps. Once the polenta is thoroughly mixed in, cover the pot and place it into the oven for 40 minutes, stirring once every 15 minutes to prevent sticking at the bottom.

Meanwhile, prepare the Ragù.


Strain the tomato juice into a small saucepan and simmer until it is reduced it by half. Reserve the flesh.

In a deep pan, sweat the onion and garlic for one minute in olive oil over medium heat. Turn to medium-high heat and add the ground meat and cook until lightly brown, about 5-8 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and cook for 5 more minutes.

Add the tomato flesh, the reduced juice, the sugar, dried oregano, and the bay leaf to the meat. Cover and simmer slowly for 20 minutes, stirring periodically.


While the meat simmers, saute the daikon and olives in some olive oil in a separate pan until the daikon is tender and has absorbed the olive flavor, about 8 minutes. Add the daikon mixture and the edamame to the ragù, cover, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove the bay leaf.

When the polenta is ready, remove the sage and ladle it into warm bowls. Top with the ragù, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and serve piping hot.


Serves 4

Question: What is your go-to pantry staple item?

  1. January 23, 2010 by Dawn@CocinaSavant

    this is a beautiful dish! ragu and polenta is a heavenly comforting combination and the spots of color with the edamame beans make it look absolutely delicious.

  2. January 23, 2010 by Nastassia @LetMeEatCake

    this dish looks divine! i just got my hands on 2 lovely packages of polenta so I can’t wait to try you recent recipes with polenta!

  3. January 23, 2010 by Anna

    Wow, it looks beautiful all the colors. Must be very yummy.

  4. January 25, 2010 by Divina

    I always love the combination of the two but you also added one of my favorite ingredients: edamame. Now, I’m hungry.

  5. January 25, 2010 by Kevin

    The first time I cooked polenta in highschool cooking class, I thought it was sooooooo boring.

    White Spot even had this dish with polenta.. it wasn’t very popular I think, both in front and in the kitchen. I certainly didn’t like serving it up.

    Perhaps you’ve done some magic…make me some polenta please. :)

  6. January 25, 2010 by diva

    i’m glad to hear u’re a fellow polenta lover too. I’ve got such a thing for them even the name turns me on a little. Polenta cake especially! Beautiful dish – your pictures are gorgeous. And oh yes, thanks for introducing me to the Beet ‘n’ Squash YOU event. I’ve submitted a post for it :) x

  7. January 25, 2010 by Kitchen Butterfly

    Stunning photos…and what a great reminder :-). Will vote….congrats!

  8. January 25, 2010 by Nicole, RD

    Gorgeous! I love the creativity with flavors and ingredients. Can you ever go wrong with polenta? I miss Italy, too!

  9. January 25, 2010 by Carol Egbert

    I will be living in Sicily for two months and look forward to all things Italian.

    Thanks for a yummy post.

  10. January 25, 2010 by wasabi prime

    Fantastic! I think Italy would totally groove on this — their cuisine is all about working with what’s available and being resourceful! I’m a huge fan of olives. I think that’s probably my go-to item that I always have in the fridge or an extra jar in the pantry. Kalamata, to be specific. I like their rich flavor; adds so much to cold salads and hot stews and braised meats as well.

  11. January 26, 2010 by Marc @ NoRecipes

    Congrats on the nomination!

    These dishes culled together from random bits and pieces in the fridge are often the best and almost always the most fun to make. Nice job on this one!

  12. January 26, 2010 by MaryMoh

    Love the colour of this dish. Looks delicious. I have not tried polenta but am going to try this some time. Thanks for sharing.

  13. January 26, 2010 by Jeannie

    Beautiful dish indeed. Just popped over to watch your video on polenta and it is a great video.

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