The lovely folks over at Roland Foods sent over a little care package of some of their products, and in this box I found some sundried tomatoes and polenta. If you've never had polenta, it's basically like a silky cornmeal concoction - you either love it or you hate it. I'm a huge fan of polenta because it cooks up easily and leftovers can easily be turned into polenta cakes which can be fried or grilled. No matter what - I totally dig my polenta.
One of my favorite memories of polenta is eating a restaurant with my best friends over my 40th birthday weekend getaway. It was cooked under a glass, topped with lots of yumminess and the scooping down to get every delicious last bite of the polenta was hard work but well worth it. It's a food memory I won't soon forget, mostly because the company and the polenta were both so good.
This dish isn't even a copy of that memorable polenta, but I love it because it's easy to make and Son can have it, provided I leave out the butter and cheese for him, which I do. It's a hearty enough meal for your family and it can be made with very little preparation, aside from having the ingredients. You can change the sausage if you like, leave out the mushrooms if you're not a fan, or add a different cheese. Either way you look at it - it's an easy dish to fiddle with and improvise upon.
As a warning, polenta is best served piping hot from the pot otherwise it thickens up and becomes something else altogether. Make the sausage mixture as you bring your polenta water to a boil, and once the sausage mixture is done, actually work on the polenta. Once the polenta is done, quickly move towards serving it.
Polenta with Sausage and Mushrooms
Serves 4 to 6
Sausage and Mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 lb sweet italian sausage, casing removed (or if you can find bulk sausage, use that)
8 oz of mushrooms, quartered
3 sundried tomatoes, not in oil, finely chopped
3 tablespoons basil chiffonade, for garnish
parmesan or fontina cheese for grating and sprinkling on top
Heat a fry pan over medium high heat and add olive oil, garlic, and sausage, breaking up sausage with the back of the spoon. Continue breaking up sausages and when they are almost cooked, add mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. Continue to cook until mushrooms are browned and warm. Set aside until polenta is ready.
Once polenta is cooked, ladle polenta into plate and add a hearty spoonful of sausage mushroom mixture, sprinkle with basil and cheese.
1 cup cornmeal or polenta
4 ¼ cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
Bring 4 ¼ cups of water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add salt and slowly whisk in cornmeal and reduce heat to low, stirring often until cornmeal is tender, about 15 minutes. Add butter.