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White Polenta with Sausage and Fresh Mozzarella

June 30, 2012

Each month I await eagerly for my copy of La Cucina Italiana magazine. It’s one of the few magazines I still subscribe to, even though I realize that I can find most of their content online. When the latest issue arrives, I like to sit out on our deck (as long as it’s nice and warm!) and read through every article and recipe. It ends up being quite a long break from work or whatever else I have going on that day, but it becomes a mini trip to Italy for that afternoon. I’ve also started receiving their “Recipe of the Week” emails, which are fun for those weeks in between issues. Several months ago, one of their Recipe of the Week emails featured a polenta recipe. Since it was still a little chilly out, polenta seemed like the perfect evening meal. With the tomato sauce, cheese, and sausage, this recipe bears a slight resemblance to pizza, but that’s about where the similarities end. The polenta has a denser texture, but highlights the cheese and sausage really well. This is a great recipe for those of us who crave pizza but can’t run over to Round Table for a slice. I hope you enjoy it!

White Polenta with Sausage and Fresh Mozzarella

Courtesy of La Cucina Italiana

Ingredients:

Unsalted butter (for greasing pans)

4 cups water

4 Tablespoons olive oil

2 bay leaves

Fine sea salt

1-1/2 cups coarse white polenta

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice (preferably San Marzano)

1-1/2 cups dry white wine

1/2 pound pork sausages

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme

4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

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Directions:

Grease two 8-inch round cake pans with butter.

In a large saucepan, combine water, 2 Tablespoons oil, bay leaves, and 3/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Slowly add polenta in a thin stream, whisking; reduce heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until polenta is thickened and tender, about 40 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves.

Transfer polenta to prepared pans, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula. Let polenta cool completely in pans on a wire rack.

In a large saucepan, heat remaining 2 Tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices; stir and break up tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Add wine, whole sausages, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring sauce to gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1-1/2 cups (30 to 40 minutes). Remove from heat.

Heat oven to 400 degrees with rack in middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove sausage from sauce and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds.

Turn out polenta rounds onto prepared baking sheet. Top with sauce, spreading sauce to 1/2 inch from edges of polenta. Arrange sausage and cheese on top. Bake until cheese is melted and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Serve warm, with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of pepper. Serve and enjoy!

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