Parmesan and succulent sausage provide the richness
to offset silky polenta.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 good-quality sweet Italian sausages
1 cup medium-to-coarse cornmeal
1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
cheese, or to taste
2 tablespoons butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Put oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add sausages
and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides and cooked
through, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, put cornmeal in a medium saucepan along with 1 cup water and
whisk well to make a slurry; continue whisking mixture to eliminate any lumps.
Put pan over medium-high heat, sprinkle with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce
heat to medium and continue to cook, whisking frequently and adding water as
needed to keep mixture loose and free of lumps, between 3 and 4 more cups. If
mixture becomes too thick, simply add a bit more water; consistency should be
similar to sour cream’s.
Polenta will be done in 15 to 30 minutes, depending on grind. Add cheese and
butter. Taste and add salt, if necessary, and lots of pepper; serve topped with
Originally published in The New York Times
“The Minimalist; Taking the Fear Out of
by MARK BITTMAN, February 17, 2010