Parmesan Crusted Polenta with Roasted Peppers, Italian Sausage and Marinara Sauce
One day while watching the Food Network I got the idea to make homemade creamy polenta. When I went to the store all they had was pre-cooked polenta in a roll. So, I rearranged my dinner and decided to make something that looked like a tower. I was in a hurry and didn’t have time to make everything from scratch so I cheated and used some store-bought products. In the end, it turned out really yummy and my guests were none the wiser. The following instructions show you how to make it the quick and easy way.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (All available at Trader Joe’s)
1 or 2 rolls of precooked polenta (depending on 2 or 4 people)
1 jar of red and yellow roasted bell peppers
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 package of sweet or spicy Italian sausages
1 bunch of basil
1 container of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Olive oil and olive oil spray
Red pepper flakes
Take roasted peppers from jar (drain) and slice into strips. Put into bowl and add a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh chopped basil*, salt, and pepper (just enough to coat thoroughly) and a dash of red pepper flakes. Set aside.
To cook sausages: Place sausages in a deep sauté pan and add enough water to cover half the sausages. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to water. Turn heat on medium high and simmer sausages for about 15 minutes turning occasionally. Once the water has evaporated, brown sausages for an additional five minutes. (Use can also use a BBQ). Let rest off heat for five minutes. Once rested, slice into ½ inch slices at an angle.
While sausages are cooking, slice the polenta roll into ½ inch circles. You should get about seven to eight slices per roll. Place on a greased cookie sheet and season with olive oil spray, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and black pepper. Put in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. If the tops are not brown when done, place under broiler at the very end for 3 minutes – do not go anywhere…they will burn.
Heat marinara sauce in microwave until hot.
To assemble: Place one circle of polenta in the center of a plate. Top with roasted peppers. Repeat twice. On top of the third polenta circle add a nice amount of marinara sauce so that it drips down the sides of the polenta tower. Arrange the sausage slices around the polenta tower. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Enjoy!
* For a quick and easy way to chop basil: Stack all your basil leaves on top of each other. Start and the stem end and roll all the leaves to make a log. Take your knife and begin to chop the roll. Your knife should be perpendicular to the basil roll. Once you are done you will have stringy pieces of basil that are more decorative for garnish.