Baked polenta w/italian sausage, mushrooms &

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 tablespoon Fruity olive oil
1 small Yellow onion; chopped
2 larges Garlic cloves; minced
1 medium Red sweet pepper cored, seeded & chopped
½ pounds Mild Italian sausage with fennel seed & garlic casing removed
½ pounds Fresh crimini, button or
Other mushrooms as available trimmed and thinly sliced
2½ cup Milk, broth or water
¾ cup Yellow cornmeal preferably stone-ground
1 tablespoon Fresh sage; chopped
1 tablespoon Fresh Italian parsley chopped
¼ teaspoon Ground cayenne pepper
1 cup Skim or whole-milk ricotta
½ cup Gruyere or
½ cup Other Swiss cheese shredded
Salt and pepper; to taste
4 tablespoons Melted butter or margarine
4 tablespoons Grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh Tomato Sauce*
Italian parsley; chopped
Herb sprigs

GARNISHES

*Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe posted separately.

Hill and Barclay write: "This is our idea of comfort food! Bland cornmeal needs a real shot of flavor, so don't hold back on the herbs."

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet; saute onion, garlic and sweet pepper until hot through. Add crumbled sausage and continue cooking just until meat changes color. Stir in mushrooms and cook until hot through. Drain excess fat and set mixture aside.

Place milk or other liquid in a large, heavy saucepan over moderately high heat; slowly add cornmeal, stirring briskly with a wire whisk to prevent lumping. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes, or until mixture is very thick and smooth; stir constantly to prevent scorching.

Remove pan from heat and stir in herbs, cayenne pepper, and ricotta and gruyere cheeses. Add sausage and sweet pepper mixture, combine well, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour mixture into two 9" pie plates lined with plastic wrap. Cool on a wire rack, then cover and refrigerate at least an hour, or as long as three days.

When ready to serve dish, preheat oven to 375 F. Cut polenta in wedges and place on an oiled shallow baking pan large enough to hold polenta in one layer without crowding. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until polenta is lightly browned and very hot when tested with a small knife in center of wedge. Serve with Fresh Tomato Sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and sprigs of herbs.

From Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay's "Sage through the Ages" article in "The Herb Companion." Dec. 1993/Jan. 1994, Vol. 6, No. 2. Pg. 32.

Posted by Cathy Harned. Submitted By KAZ LANGRIDGE

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