Polenta with Mascarpone, Spicy Tomato Sauce and Italian Sausages

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Wolfgang Puck Try Italian-style polenta in place of mashed potatoes the next time you serve a family supper. Or, on a weekend morning, serve it for breakfast, just like a loving Austrian mother would.

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Ingredients

  • POLENTA WITH MASCARPONE AND PARMESAN
  • 5 C. water
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 1 C. polenta
  • 1 C. mascarpone
  • 1 C. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • SPICY TOMATO SAUCE AND ITALIAN SAUSAGES:
  • 6 sweet or spicy fresh Italian pork or turkey sausages
  • 2 C. canned peeled and diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 C. diced onion
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. dried chili flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 Tbs. finely julienned fresh basil leaves, for garnish

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Directions

To make the Polenta with Mascarpone and Parmesan, put the water in a medium pot, add the salt and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat. Stirring continuously, slowly pour in the polenta. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until a thick porridge forms, 1 hour. If you want polenta alone, stir in the mascarpone, Parmesan and honey until fully blended and heated through. If you plan to serve the polenta with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Italian Sausages, start preparing them about 30 minutes before the polenta is done.

First, preheat the broiler, an indoor or outdoor grill, or a grill pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook, turning frequently, until they are evenly browned and completely cooked through, about 15 minutes. If necessary, keep them warm, covered with aluminum foil, until the polenta and sauce are done. While the sausages are cooking, prepare the sauce. Place a sieve or strainer over a mixing bowl. Pour the tomatoes into the sieve, letting their excess juices flow through into the bowl. You should have around 1 C. (250 ml) each of tomatoes and juices; reserve them both separately. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add the onion and saute until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and saute, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato juices, balsamic vinegar, sugar and chili flakes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cubed tomatoes have broken down slightly and the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oregano and cook about 1 minute more. Cover and keep warm until serving time.

To serve, divide the hot polenta among individual heated serving plates or shallow pasta bowls. With a sharp knife, cut each sausage diagonally into 3 pieces, and arrange them on top of the polenta. Spoon the tomato sauce over the sausages and around the polenta on each plate. Garnish with fresh basil and serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

(Chef Wolfgang Puck's new TV series, "Wolfgang Puck's Cooking Class," airs Sundays and Wednesdays on the Food Network. Write Wolfgang Puck in care of Tribune Media Services Inc., 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY. 14207.)

©2004 WOLFGANG PUCK WORLDWIDE, INC.

DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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