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Recipe for family meals :

Polenta and Sausage Casserole

This recipe for Polenta and Sausage Casserole was sent to me by Shirley Cline.

Shirley was a great inspiration to me when I first started working on the idea of creating a recipe and cooking web site. Not only did she encourage me but she also supplied a great many recipes and other pieces which are featured throughout the site. Her great achievement was to teach me to cook risottos over the internet!

Although I never had the chance to meet Shirley, or even talk to her, I regarded her as a good friend. It was with great sadness that I learnt that she passed away in Autumn 2004 and that there would be no more emails. I think she will be sadly missed by a lot of people like me to whom she gave such pleasure with the sharing or her recipes. The pleasure my children have had from her recipe for Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar and Mint - not to mention the fights for seconds - has been a joy to behold.

Goodbye Shirley. You will always be remembered. I learnt a great deal from you.

Ingredients for Polenta and Sausage Casserole

1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed
1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage links, casings removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large celery stalk, minced
1 medium-size carrot, minced
1 x 28 ounce can plum tomatoes in purée
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 (14 1/2 oz) can chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 pound Fontina cheese, shredded (2 cups)

How to make Polenta and Sausage Casserole

Tomato Sausage Sauce:

  • In 5 quart Dutch oven over medium high heat, cook sausages until browned, stirring with spoon to break them up. With slotted spoon, remove sausages to bowl.
  • In same Dutch oven in hot olive oil, cook onion, celery and carrot until lightly browned.
  • Stir in sausages and tomatoes with their purée over high heat, heat to boiling.
  • Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Remove cover and simmer 10 minutes longer, stirring to break up tomatoes.
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Polenta:

  • In 4 quart saucepan with wire whisk, mix cornmeal, chicken broth, and salt.
  • Now, using a wooden spoon over medium high heat, gradually add 4 1/4 cups boiling water, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (about 5 minutes).
  • Stir in the Parmesan cheese and turn off heat.
  • Grease 13" x 9" glass baking dish. Spread half of polenta in baking dish. Top with half the tomato sausage sauce, then half the shredded cheese. Repeat with remaining polenta and sauce.
  • Bake casserole, uncovered, 15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake about 20 minutes longer or until mixture is hot and bubbling. Let stand 15 minutes for easier serving. 

Serves 4

Shirley Cline

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