I’m leaving for a week long vacation in 3 days (WOO HOO!!!), so I spent most of last week trying to use up every fruit, veggie, and morsel of food in my fridge that could go bad while I’m away. This resulted in some pretty weird dinners. Most of them were pretty blah, edible and healthy sure, but nothing to brag about. One dish did come out of the weekend, though, that was a complete success. It allowed me to use up the last of my basil and parsley, finish up a couple of tablespoons of open butter, empty a bottle of wine, and get rid of the 2 lone peppers in the fridge. Plus, it gave me just enough leftovers to take to work this week, ensuring that I’m saving up all of my pennies for some delicious New Orleans fare during my vacation.
As I said, this recipe is really the result of cleaning out the fridge, so if you don’t have basil or parsley on hand, feel free to try the polenta with other herbs – dill, sage, or rosemary would all be awesome options as well.
Italian sausage and peppers
4 Italian sausages, hot or sweet
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium red onion
1 large green pepper
1 large red pepper
½ dry red wine
1 14-oz can fire roasted tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt & pepper
crushed red pepper, to taste
1) Begin by preparing your onions and peppers: Cut the onion in to half-moon slices about a quarter of an inch thick. Slice the bell peppers into pieces a quarter to half an inch in width.
2) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place whole sausages in the pan and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes on each side.
3) Add garlic, onions, and peppers and saute for about 10 minutes.
4) Add red wine and diced tomatoes, with juice, to the pan. Stir in tomato paste, salt & pepper, and red pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sausages are cooked through and sauce reduces some. If sauce starts to thicken too much, add chicken or beef broth.
4) Serve over soft cooked polenta, pasta, or rice.
4 cups water
1 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
¼ cup finely chopped basil
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1) Bring water and salt to a boil in a large sauce pan.
2) Gradually whisk in cornmeal and reduce heat to low.
3) Cook polenta over low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture has thicken to the consistency of thick porridge.
4) Remove from heat, stir in butter, herbs, and cheese. Serve.