12 October 2011

Recipe of the Week: Polenta with Italian Sausage and Vegetables

I based this yummy recipe off of this recipe from Betty Crocker.  I ended up changing it quite a bit because I couldn't find any zucchini or squash that was worth buying and I had left over sausages I wanted to use (they added a really nice flavor). Also, I like to eat my polenta either broiled or grilled.  If you want a vegetarian meal, omit the sausage.  If you don't have a lot of time you could make the polenta and add your favorite jar of pasta sauce as an alternative to pasta.

Although I don't cook with artichoke hearts often, I really liked the flavor they added to this sauce. Albert LOVED it and said it was like eating at a restaurant.  I will definitely make this one again.


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of polenta or medium course corn meal
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2/3 cup (2.5 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup chopped red or green pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (optional, I forgot this and it was fine)
  • 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and cut into fourths
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (4 oz) mushrooms
  • 2 Italian sausage links, sliced (like these)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried basil (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon oregano (or more to taste)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • parmesan cheese


Directions:
  1. Beat cornmeal and cold water in 2-quart saucepan with wire whisk. Stir in boiling water and salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cheese until smooth.  Pour polenta into a 9x13 pan and smooth.  Let cool. It will set up and harden a little.
  2. Heat oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sausage until brown.  Add bell pepper, onion and garlic in oil about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in seasonings, artichoke hearts, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, and tomato sauce. Let simmer.
  3. Broil polenta until brown.  You can also cut the polenta into squares and grill it which is really good, but more time consuming.
  4. Serve vegetable mixture over polenta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

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