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Recipe Thursday-Polenta Sausage Mozzarella Casserole

Posted on February 24th, 2011 | Posted in Casserole, Main Course, Recipes

I have recently been obsessed with polenta so pretty much any recipe that has it as part of it I’ll try! I had some leftover Groff Meat’s Italian sweet sausage, so I searched for a recipe that I could use it in. I came across Polenta Sausage Mozzarella Casserole on SimplyRecipes.com, but the recipe is actually from Sunset Magazine, which is one of my favorite lifestyle magazines. However the original recipe called for store bought polenta, but I personally like the homemade version better, so that is what I made. The dish turned out great! The veggie tomato sauce was so tasty and really made the dish a success. I thought that the larger pieces of onion added nice texture and were a rather “meaty” element to the dish. You can alway choose to add more veggies to the sauce and forgo the sausage for a vegetarian version. I made a few alterations, which are noted below.

Polenta Sausage Mozzarella Casserole


Yield 6 Servings

Ingredients

4 1/2 tablespoon olive oil (992055)
28 ounces crushed tomatoes (990309)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, I used 1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (CPo075)
1 medium yellow onion, halved lengthwise then cut into wedges
1 medium bell pepper (red, green, orange or yellow), cut lengthwise into thin slices
2 cloves garlic, minced (991057)
1/2 teaspoon salt (CQS030)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (CQP065)
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (CQP101)
1 pound Italian sausage (removed from casings), sweet or spicy (GRF436)
2 pounds of prepared polenta, 1/2-inch slices if using prepared polenta in a tube (CWGA090) (recipe below for fresh polenta)
1/2 pound (8 ounces) fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch slices (775757)

Method

1 Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 2-3 qt saucepan on medium heat. Add tomatoes and oregano, simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes.

2 While the tomatoes are cooking, in a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Cover the pan, lower the heat to medium, and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. While veggies cook, preheat oven broiler on high. Add the sausage, stirring and breaking it into small pieces as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Cover the pan and cook until vegetables are tender and the sausage is cooked through, about 5-8 more minutes. Add the tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

3 While the sauce is cooking, coat the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan with a 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add the cooked polenta (or slices) to the pan. Coat the top of the polenta with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Broil the polenta about 4 inches from the heating element until golden brown and crispy, about 10-15 minutes.

4 Pour sauce over broiled polenta, then arrange Mozzarella slices over the top and return the casserole to the broiler. Broil until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Polenta

6 cups water
Salt to taste (CQS030)
1 1/2 cup medium-grain yellow corn meal (NOT1920)
4 tablespoons butter (880024)

Method

Heat water lightly seasoned with salt to a boil over high heat, about 5 minutes. Quickly whisk in the polenta until fully incorporated. Lower the heat to a low simmer, add the butter and allow the polenta to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Finish by stirring in salt to taste. If preparing in advance, cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave, about 5 minutes on high, just before serving. Stir vigorously after reheating to fluff.

Recipe adapted from Sunset Magazine & Simplyrecipes.com

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