Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Polenta with Chicken Sausage and Tomato-Vegetable Sauce

This happy accident had my critics going back for seconds (all except Picky Teenage Son, who got up only to get a yogurt from the fridge). Getting PTS to go back for seconds of anything is like pulling teeth, which made me think the old Trident gum phrase, "3 out of 4 dentists surveyed recommend Trident for their patients who chew gum." Well, 3 out of 4 of my family members recommend this dish.

My dinner plan involved using a roll of polenta I'd picked up at Trader Joe's along with the al fresco chicken sausages that were on sale at Roche Bros. this week. I figured I'd need a sauce, so I opened the veggie drawer and pulled out half an onion, half a bell pepper and a portobello mushroom cap, sauteed them with some garlic, added a can of tomatoes and some seasonings, and dinner was ready.

Polenta with Chicken Sausage and Tomato-Vegetable Sauce
Serves 3 - 4

2 - 4 T. olive oil, divided
about 1 cup of chopped vegetables, such as onion, bell peppers, mushrooms and/or zucchini
2 cloves garlic, minced
splash of white or red wine
1 can petite diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
1 tube polenta, sliced into 10 - 12 rounds
1 package al fresco chicken sausage (fully cooked), I used the spinach and feta flavor
freshly grated parmesan or asiago cheese

Heat about 2 T. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the vegetables until they begin to soften, about 5 - 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add a splash of wine if you'd like, and stir around to scrape up any bits that are beginning to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the can of tomatoes with their juices and the Italian seasoning, and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Keep warm, or set aside and rewarm before serving. (Sauce can be prepared hours ahead of time.)

About 15 minutes before serving, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and heat a grill pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush one side of polenta with olive oil. Place oiled side down in pan and cook for about 3 minutes, or until grill marks or light brown color appear. Brush tops with oil and flip. Cook 3 - 4 minutes longer. Place polenta on a baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Use the same pan to heat your sausage, flipping once a couple of minutes through.

Place three pieces of polenta on each plate. Top with several sausage slices and a couple of spoonfuls of sauce. Top with shredded cheese and serve.

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