I shook off my funk and got back into the kitchen this evening. To make polenta. Why? I don’t know. I was craving polenta. Is there some kind of nutrient in polenta that I can be deficient in?
Anyway, this is what you need. Those jars on the left are home-canned tomato sauce and tomatoes that I did last summer. You can use sauce that you make, or buy, or just use a big can of tomatoes that you get at the store. TJ’s has some Italian herb whole tomatoes in a can that would probably work pretty well. All together I used about 3 cups of sauce and a cup or so of the canned tomato.
Don’t pay attention to the saucepan I’m using here. I was in a hurry and not thinking things through. In a Dutch oven, brown the Italian sausage until it’s mostly cooked through. I used one package mild and one package hot.
When the sausage is done, set aside on a plate and pour off the fat.
In the same pan, saute the onion, garlic and carrot in olive oil until soft.
Add the peppers. Season with salt and pepper.
When the peppers are cooked through, add the tomato sauce and tomatoes…or whatever you decide to use.
Add the sausage back to the Dutch oven and simmer over low heat.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan or on a griddle, cook the rounds of polenta in a hot pan.
Arrange them, slightly overlapping, in an oven-proof dish.
Ladle over some of the sauce, about 2 cups.
Next, add a layer of sliced fresh mozzarella.
Then, another layer of sauce, some Parmesan cheese and a little parsley.
Bake in a 350* oven for about a half-hour.
When it’s done, it’ll look like this.
When the polenta is in the oven, you can make this side dish, if you wish.
Undercover Easy Greens
1) Slice half an onion thinly.
2) Saute the onion until golden.
3) Dump in a big bag of “country greens”–a mix of collards, mustard and turnip greens.
4) Saute for about 5 minutes, until cooked down.
5) Add a Tbsp of Bariani (or some other high quality) balsamic vinegar.
6) Add a pinch of red pepper flakes.
7) Turn heat to low and let continue to cook for about 10 minutes, or until cooked to your desired doneness.
Voila! Dinner is served.
Polenta, Sausage and Pepper Bake
- 2 tubes prepared polenta, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds.
- 1-28 oz can of tomatoes or prepared tomato sauce. You may use prepared marinara if you wish.
- 2 packages raw Italian sausage, removed from casings. I used one hot and one mild.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 peppers, sliced. I used one red and one green.
- 1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds.
- Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350*.
- Brown sausage in a Dutch oven until nearly cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside. Drain fat. Add a Tbsp olive oil back to the Dutch oven and saute the onion, garlic and carrot until soft. Add the sliced peppers and saute until they are soft. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Return the sausage to the pot. Add the tomatoes or sauce (or both) and simmer on low.
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, fry the polenta rounds in a little bit of olive oil.
- As they are cooked, layer them in an ovenproof dish, such as a Pyrex, slightly overlapping until all polenta rounds are cooked. Ladle over the sauce, about 1-1/2 to 2 cups.
- Next, place a layer of sliced mozzarella on top of the sauce.
- Ladle on some more sauce, then sprinkle on some Parmesan. If you like greenery like I do, sprinkle on some chopped parsley.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.