Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Baked Polenta with Sausage, Tomato and Red Pepper Sauce

  • Polenta is made from cornmeal.  It's a great alternative to pasta in Italian themed dishes, and many varieties are gluten free.  This recipe uses prepared polenta, which is sold in tubes.  I usually find it above the fancy cheese case at the market.  

    Baked Polenta with Sausage, Tomato and Red Pepper Sauce
    adapted from MyRecipes
    Olive oil

                      1  can (15 oz.) crushed tomatoes
                      1  tablespoon  chopped fresh oregano
                      1  medium yellow onion, halved lengthwise, then cut into thin wedges
                      1  medium yellow, red, or orange bell pepper, cut lengthwise into thin slices
                      2  cloves garlic, minced
                      1/2  teaspoon  each salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red chile flakes
    1  pound  bulk Italian sausage, sweet or spicy (or 1 lb. Italian sausage links removed from their casings)

                      1  tube (16 oz.)prepared polenta, sliced into 1/2-in.-thick rounds
                       4 ounces  fresh mozzarella, grated
    Preheat the broiler to high.
     In a medium saucepan, combine 1 T. olive oil, tomatoes and oregano and simmer.  I ran out of oregano yesterday (the horror!), so I used an Italian blend that contained oregano, basil, thyme and garlic.  I also didn't use crushed tomatoes.  I had some plain tomato sauce and diced tomatoes left over from other dishes this week, so I combined and used those.  
     In a large frying or saute pan, heat 2 T. olive oil over medium heat and cook onion, bell pepper, and garlic about 5 minutes.  
     Add spices and mix well.

    If you bought sausage links, like me, remove the casings by making a small slit the length of the sausage with your knife and using your fingers to remove the casings.  The casings are gross and slimy, don't look at them and throw them away quickly. 

     Add the sausage to the pan and break up with your spoon.  Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the sausage is cooked through, stirring occasionally.
    I chose to drain some of the fat off after this step.

    Pour the tomato sauce over the sausage mixture, and let simmer gently over low heat while you prepare the polenta.

    Slice the polenta into 1/2 inch rounds.
    Pour a small amount of olive oil (about 1 tsp.) in the bottom of a baking dish.  Mine is 8x12. 
    Arrange the polenta slices in the baking dish, slightly overlapping, so they cover the bottom.  Drizzle 1 tsp. olive oil over the top and broil for 10-15 minutes, until golden and slightly crispy.
    When you take the pan out of the oven, be careful not to let your pot holder touch the heating element on broil.  It will catch on fire.  

     Pour the sausage mixture over the polenta and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

      Broil for an additional 3 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
    Allow to cool slightly before serving.



  1. That looks good! It's easy to make polenta from cornmeal, too. Marcella's recipe is the one that I use.

  2. @Sarah - You could sub kale for the sausage to vegify it. I wish I had added some just for a little green (and to use up the monster bag of kale in my fridge).


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