Sausage, Peppers and Onions with Creamy Polenta

What a meal this turned out to be! Sweet sausage and peppers with creamy polenta…delicious. I should seriously make polenta more often—I love the feel of the smooth, tender grains in my mouth. It’s also way more interesting than plain old pasta.

Apart from a few minor tweaks, I stayed true to the original recipes (found here and here).

Enjoy!

Sausage, Peppers and Onions with Creamy Polenta

(recipes adapted from Giada de Laurentiis via Week of Menus and The Kitchn)

INGREDIENTS

Sauce

extra virgin olive oil

1 lb sweet Italian turkey sausage

2 red bell peppers, sliced (I used green)

2 yellow onions, sliced

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (I used 1 big handful, incl. stems)

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tbsp tomato paste (I omitted this)

1 cup Marsala wine (I used white)

1 15oz can diced tomatoes

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional

1/2 cup frozen, canned or fresh corn kernels, optional

Polenta

4 cups water (I used 2 cups 1% milk / 2 cups water)

1 cup polenta

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (I omitted this)

salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

For the Sauce:

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown on both sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain.
  2. Keeping the pan over medium heat, add the peppers, onions, salt, and pepper and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, basil stems, and garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the Marsala (or white) wine, tomatoes, and chili flakes, if using. Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the browned bits. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Cut the sausages into 4 to 6 pieces each, about 1-inch cubes. Add the sausage back to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. (I let mine stew for over an hour on very low heat.) Add the corn, if using, and chopped basil leaves, stir and allow to warm through.

For the Polenta:

  1. While the sauce is stewing, begin making the polenta. You’ll need about 45 minutes. First, bring the water to a boil in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Once boiled, add the salt and, whisking continuously, slowly pour the polenta into the water in a thin stream. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring nearly constantly with a long-handled wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, the grains soften, and the polenta begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 40 to 45 minutes. (The idea of stirring for 45 minutes annoys me, so I actually just turned off the heat when the mixture thickened, covered the pot and let the polenta steam until tender.)
  3. Stir in the butter and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, if using, and season with pepper. Cover to keep warm.
  4. Plate and serve with the sausage and peppers.

 

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