white polenta with sausage and fresh mozzarella
polenta bianca con salamelle e mozzarella
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours
MAKES: 4 servings
Made similar to pizza (a round of creamy polenta is topped with sausage, tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese then baked until the cheese is melty), this is a hearty dish that adults and kids alike will love. White polenta, popular in Veneto, is made from white corn and has a fine grind, which makes it incredibly smooth and luscious.
- Unsalted butter for greasing pans
- 4 cups water
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 2 bay leaves
- Fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups coarse white polenta
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice (preferably
- San Marzano)
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1/2 pound pork sausages
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Freshly ground black pepper
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: 2 (8-inch) round cake pans
Grease cake pans with butter.
In a large saucepan, combine water, 2 tablespoons oil, bay leaves and 3/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Slowly add polenta in a thin stream, whisking; reduce heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until polenta is thickened and tender, about 40 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves.
Transfer polenta to prepared pans, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula. Let polenta cool completely in pans on a wire rack.
In a large saucepan, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices; stir and break up tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Add wine, whole sausages, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring sauce to gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat.
Heat oven to 400° with rack in middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove sausage from sauce and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.
Turn out polenta rounds onto prepared baking sheet. Top with sauce, spreading sauce to 1/2 inch from edges of polenta. Arrange sausage and cheese on top. Bake until cheese is melted and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Serve warm, with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of pepper.
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