Mascarpone Polenta with Sausage and Peppers

Despite my Italian heritage, I’ve never had a bite of Polenta before last month. Truth be told, I wasn’t even one hundred percent sure what it was. My neighbor, also Italian, is always raving about how Polenta is his favorite dish his mother makes for him. To him it is pure Italian comfort food. So, after trying my first bite while out with friends last month, I decided that this was indeed something the goodLife {eats} kitchen needed to experience! Who could truly call themselves Italian and not have tried Polenta?

I didn’t do the responsible thing and search for a recipe that was highly rated before trying Polenta out for our Sunday dinner. I didn’t even ask my neighbor how his mom made her recipe. Instead, you could say that I threw caution to the wind and made it up as I went – a method that often works great for me when I actually have a clue as to what I’m making. I had very few assumptions about what this dish would be like, if Eric would like it or not, and if the end result would even be blog worthy. Let me tell you this: positive on all accounts. Rich with flavor, filling on the tummy, husband approved, and definitely blog worthy. Here is how I imagined a bowl of creamy Italian Polenta on a late Sunday afternoon.

Mascarpone Polenta with Sausage and Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage
  • 1 red onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Mascarpone Polenta, recipe follows

Mascarpone Polenta

  • 4 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan

Directions:

For the Sausage and Peppers:

In a skillet or saute pan, cook the sausage over medium heat until crispy and browned on all sides. Remove, slice into half inch thick rounds and return to pan until cooked through. Remove and set aside.

Over medium-high heat, saute the onion (adding olive oil if necessary) in the same pan the sausage cooked in. When tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes, add the garlic and saute a minute more.

Add the wine to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape up any browned bits. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half. Add the peppers, fennel, salt, and pepper, cooking about 3 minutes more until the peppers are tender but still brightly colored. Serve a top a bed of mascarpone polenta.

For the Polenta:

Add the water and salt to a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and add the cornmeal, whisking to break up any lumps. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove from heat, stir in the mascarpone and parmesan. Serve immediately.