Polenta with Sausage and Mozzarella

This post was supposed to be about Mocha Gingerbread Cookies.  But I ate them.  All of them.  Before taking a picture.  Sigh.  It’s just been that kind of week.

So this here is some hearty polenta, topped with a sauce of tomatoes, spicy sausage, bell peppers, and onions and finished off with fresh mozzarella and a dash of parmesan.  I won’t call it pretty.  In fact, I’d say this is a food that is downright ugly for photos.  Some things are just like that!  This is just not one of those things that you look at and say OHMYGAWWDIHAVETOMAKETHATNOW.  Right?  Right.  But, people, it’s good.  It’s hearty and spicy and stick to your ribs goodness, sort of like a lasagna, perfect for those gray rainy days we’re still having here in the Pacific Northwest.  It’s the perfect throw-it-together-and-eat-it-for-days kind of dish.   Which I personally love.

I’ll get back to more photogenic foods soon (including the aforementioned cookies), but for now, go make yourself some hearty polenta.  You’ll like it.  Or your money back.

This site is free, crazy people, you aren’t getting any money back.

One year ago on C&T: Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salad

Hearty Polenta with Sausage and Mozzarella (adapted from Sunset November 2006, polenta from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home)

Polenta

You can use storebought polenta for this recipe (2 tubes, 16oz each), simply slice and line the bottom of the pan.  However, I really prefer the taste and creaminess of fresh polenta, and it’s really easy to make!  If you want a thicker polenta layer, try this recipe times 1.5.  For a shortcut, “cheater” version, buy two tubes of polenta at the store, cut it into little cubes, toss with a bit of olive oil and spread evenly in your pan.

  • 4.5 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cup cornmeal or corn grits
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.  Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan.  Slowly stream the cornmeal into the boiling water, while stirring briskly.  Stir until all the cornmeal is incorporated, then add butter and mix well.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 minutes (less if using finer grain cornmeal).  Keep the pot covered while not stirring to reduce splatters.  When polenta is cooked and tender, remove from heat and mix in parmesan.  Spread into prepared pan in an even layer.  Set aside.

Sausage Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium bell peppers, preferably yellow, orange, or red, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp each salt, black pepper, and red chile flakes
  • 1 lb bulk sausage (turkey or pork, mild or spicy)
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced (or a mix of mozzarella and parmesan)

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan; add crushed tomatoes and fresh oregano.  Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.  In a separate pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, and chile flakes and stir to combine.  Cover pan and cook until vegetables soften; about 5 minutes.  Add sausage to vegetables and cook, stirring to break it up, until cooked through.  (note: if you buy a high fat sausage, you may want to cook it separately, drain the grease, and add it to the sauce at the end).  When sausage is fully cooked, mix the sausage/vegetable mixture into the tomato mixture.  Pour over the top of the polenta.  Top with mozzarella.  Place pan under broiler until cheese is melted and starting to brown, about 2 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving.  Serves 6-8.

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