Italian Polenta Casserole

It looks………….interesting. When enough people say that to you about a recipe, it makes you double think your tastes in food. But………this recipe, it was shouting, “I AM YUMMY!” Who am I to argue with a talking recipe?

In Brazil, polenta is something made frequently. I can remember watching Lia whip it up to go along with any meal. I walk through the grocery store and cringe when I see prepared polenta in those little rolls like sausage come in. They’re wrapped in plastic. Has anyone tasted something wrapped in plastic (cooked) that didn’t taste like plastic lately? No, well me neither. It’s so easy to make….why would anyone ever bother to buy it prepared? Anyways, off my soap box. 

Italian Sausage Polenta

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1 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
3 T butter/margerine
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cup cornmeal or quick cooking polenta mix
1/4 cup Italian blend cheese (or straight up parmesean)
3/4 cup mozerella
3 oz cream cheese

12 oz spicy sausage
2 cups traditional pasta sauce
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic 
salt

Grease a 3 qt casserole dish. Set it aside. 

In a medium saucepan, bring the butter and broth to a boil. While you’re waiting, mix together the milk and the cornmeal. If you aren’t using the quick cooking polenta, add a bit of salt. Once the broth mixture boils, add in the milk and cornmeal. Stir it continually until it is bubbly. (Stir quickly, because it likes to become lumpy, like an old comforter or something.) After it boils, continue stirring for 3-5 minutes, or until it’s very thick. Remove it from the hot burner, and stir in the two cheeses, and the cream cheese until it’s mixed through. Spread 2/3 of the mixture into the prepared dish. 

Brown the sausage in a pan with the onion and the garlic. Drain the fat. Stir in the pasta sauce. Let it boil, the pour it over the polenta. Make sure it spreads evenly. (Tip! Spread the polenta layer even, and it won’t be a problem.) Drop spoons of the rest of the polenta mixture over the sauce layer. Sprinkle cheese over the whole thing.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, or until heated through.

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