Beef Sausage and Tomato Ratatouille

Oh, my heavens thank goodness back to school week is over!  I always hate to see my kids go back to school because to me, there is just something comforting about having them safe at home, even though Chad and I work all day.  I never look forward to the homework, the worrying I do that they will be happy, have good friends, and do well in their subjects.  I’ve learned over the years though that although my first instinct as a mom is to protect my kids, they are bright little humans that do need to be allowed to figure things out for themselves.   They truly are capable of this, I know, just like I was.

But it’s sooooo hard!  I don’t want to let go.  Last year Mason started junior high and I think I called each one of my friends and cried.  And when I say cried, I mean jagged, heart wrenching sobs.  I think I was grieving his childhood, not to mention that I was absolutely terrified for him and there was nothing I could do about any of it.  Well, he did get through it, and this year as he began eighth grade, I held it together quite a bit more, even when he chose to walk ten feet in front of me at back to school night because I’m the most embarrassing mom EVER.

Luke made it to the second day before he had to pull his card to YELLOW.  It took me 20 minutes to pry out of him the reason why he got into trouble.  Apparently he was told it was time to do something and he sighed very heavily and audibly causing a great big distraction.  We had a long talk about not only doing what we are told and when, but about not sighing about it either.

So, with all this excitement, quick week night dinners are a must.  I am trying to focus on getting healthier meals on the table as well, considering that according to my estimate, the kids ingested 226 bags of Doritos and 479 cans of Pepsi this summer.  Tater tots and sloppy joes every night is just not going to cut it.

In comes my easy peasy Beef Sausage and Tomato Ratatouille.


What defines ratatouille is that one or more of the ingredients is cooked separately to bring out it’s natural and true flavors.  In my version, the tomatoes are roasted for a short time in the oven until they become soft, sweet, and slightly charred.   Then, fully cooked beef sausages and red onions are added and baked for a few more minutes along with the tomatoes.

Once roasted thoroughly, the dish is topped with reduced balsamic vinegar and fresh basil leaves.  It’s served on top of simple, creamy polenta.


It’s not just a gorgeous dish, but so tasty, and so easy that it practically cooks itself.  Besides, how cool will your kids think you are when you say they are having ratatouille for dinner?  Ahem…well, I have to admit it didn’t help me appear more cool in the eyes of my teenager who just thinks I’m a REALLY BIG NERD with all my fancy cooking terms, but maybe you will have better luck with your kids!

Beef Sausage and Tomato Ratatouille


  • For the ratatouille:
  • 1 pint Flavorino (or cocktail) tomatoes
  • 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 ounces fully cooked beef smoked sausages
  • ½ red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • For the polenta:
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 3 Tablespoons salted butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the flavorino tomatoes in half lengthwise. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half as well. Place the tomatoes, cut side up onto a sheet pan. Pour on the olive oil and add salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat the tomatoes in the oil and seasonings.
  2. Roast the tomatoes for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut the sausages on the bias into large chunks. Add the sausages and onions to the tomatoes.
  4. Roast for another 30 minutes until the sausages are heated through and the onions are cooked.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the polenta. Boil the water. Slowly add the polenta while continuously whisking. Cover the polenta and cook over medium low, whisking every few minutes, until it reaches the consistency you desire.
  6. Add the balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan. Heat over medium until the vinegar becomes syrupy. It will be reduced to a couple of tablespoons.
  7. Remove the ratatouille form the oven. Drizzle on the reduced balsamic and top with fresh basil leaves.
  8. Spoon the polenta onto plates and top with the ratatouille. Spoon any juices remaining in the pan onto each plate. Finish with a little more salt and pepper.




  1. Oh no Shauna – what are you going to do next year when he’s in High School?! I think I was the opposite parent – I was the least helicopter parent you will have ever met, but I planned it that way. It was just Hannah and I until she was 8 and I always knew that I wouldn’t be there to help her, speak for her, etc.

    The looks people gave me when she was 2 1/2 and would ask a clerk in a store where the bathroom was when she was potty trained was priceless – they’d look at me and say “it’s down the hall to the right” and I would say “tell her, she’s the one who asked!”

    Now 23 she is the most independent person I know and I love her for that.

    And now onto the dish – AMAZEBALLS! Especially over the creamy polenta – swoon!

    • I know Biz, I am just going to die when he goes to high School! I can totally see you raising a completely independent child-doesn’t surprise me one bit and if she’s half as amazing as you are, I bet she is an awesome person. So glad you like the dish-it’s one of my best so far.

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