Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sausage & Polenta (Easy & Rustic)

Very rustic Italian dinner you can whip up in 30 mins. Don't fear polenta- it's easy! But if you are worried or super strapped for time you can pick up some quick cooking polenta. Picture isn't that great, but it was really tasty- especially the sauce.

All these items you can have in your freezer and pantry.  That's why it is a great recipe to have in your back pocket in a jam- you can even substitute any other meat (like chicken) or even just add more beans for a vegetarian version.  Sometimes I like to throw in a handful or two of frozen peas in the polenta.


  • 1 lb of sausage (or meat) I used hot Italian sausage
  • 1 (28oz) can of crushed tomatoes
  • water
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • basil, fresh if you have

  1. Heat a sauce pot to medium high
  2. Add the sausage to the pot (I sliced mine into smaller pieces- this is just preference).
  3. Brown on both sides quickly.
  4. Then add the garlic, heat about one minute
  5. Add the tomatoes
  6. Fill the tomato can half way up with water and add to the pot (just eyeball it)
  7. Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and partially cover.  Stirring occasionally.
  8. Cook for about 30mins (you don't have to cook that long- just make sure the sausage are cooked all the way through!) 
  9. Before serving season with salt, pepper and basil to taste.


If you have canned beans- wonderful! Use two cans of cannellini beans- just open the can, drain and rinse. Top the polenta with the beans and pour hot sauce over them

If you have dry beans- you had to soak overnight, then take about 2 cups and just cover with water.  Then add a big pinch of salt and bring to a boil and simmer for 30 mins (or until polenta and sauce is done).  Taste a couple beans to see if they are done.  Then drain and rinse quick.


  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • pinch of the following spices: onion powder, oregano, red pepper
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 cup of parmesean cheese

  1. In a pot add the water and salt.  Bring to a boil.
  2. When the water is bowling grab a whisk and super slowly add the cornmeal a little at a time, whisking consistently.  This process is called "raining in" because you are adding like a light rain shower basically.
  3. Stir, stir, stir until it comes together- will look like grits or grainy mashed potatoes almost. When it comes together swap your whisk for a wooden spoon (wooden is traditional).  Reduce heat to low and you need to stir pretty constantly (this helps break down the starches and make it yummy).  I don't but stir every couple minutes so the bottom doesn't burn.
  4. Be careful because the polenta will turn thick and bubble and splatter a bit.  So just keep an eye out.  I cook for 30 minutes until smooth and creamy and it doesn't taste bitter anymore.  Should taste sweet and a touch grainy.
  5. Right before you serve stir in your cheese.

Assembly: Polenta, top with beans, top with sausage sauce, and finally some extra parm cheese!

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