How to Cook Italian Sausage
Italian sausage comes in countless varieties, including familiar types like pepperoni and salami; the kind of sausage most people refer to when they speak of how to cook Italian sausage is "sweet Italian," "spicy Italian" or "hot Italian" (the latter two are typically the same), and it's found in the pork section of the supermarket. Typically made with pork, peppers and Italian seasonings, Italian sausage is most commonly used in pasta dishes or as a topping for pizza, but it can be the centerpiece of many other dishes as well.

For a somewhat unexpected take on how to cook Italian sausage, try this dinner recipe for a polenta-sausage bowl. It's a quick and easy, and is ready to serve in 30 minutes.

Transcript
Hey everyone. I'm Judith. Today, I'm gonna be showing you how to make a Polenta Sausage Bowl, a really hearty and nutritious Italian dish. So what you're gonna need for this is 1 16-ounce tube of cooked polenta, 1 pound of bulk Italian sausage, 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms, 2 zucchinis which we've sliced lengthways, some salt and pepper to taste, some grated parmesan cheese to taste, 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, and 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. So first things first. Let's get our polenta. Now, for people who don't know what polenta is, it's actually an Italian dish made with boiled cornmeal and you can fry polenta, you can grill it, and obviously you can boil that when you buy it in powder form, but we have it here and we sliced it into 12 slices. So, as you can see, we put it into 12 rings right here. Now, we've got a baking sheet right here, which we've lightly greased with some cooking spray, and all we're gonna do is place our polenta down onto that dish. So now we have our zucchini, and we're just gonna put that in on our dish with the polenta like so. So, let's get our cooking oil and we're just gonna brush our polenta and zucchini with our oil on both sides. And last but not least, let's just season that with some salt and pepper to your liking. I'm a big salt fan, so I usually put a little bit more than I should, but that's alright. So, a little bit of salt, a little bit of pepper. So, we're just gonna put our polenta and zucchini onto the broiler for 8 to 10 minutes. We'll turn it once halfway. We wanna get our polenta nice and golden brown and our zucchini nice and tender. While the polenta is under the broiler, let's get on with our meat. Now, here we have our Italian bulk sausage. So, bulk sausage is basically sausage without the casing. So, what we need to do is put our heat to medium. In our skillet, we're gonna put in our Italian sausage like so, and we're just gonna break it up as much as we can. If you can't find bulk Italian sausage, you can use ground beef as an alternative, but I find that the pork works really well with the polenta, so that's why we're using it. So, we're gonna cook this until it begins to brown, and then after that, we're gonna add in our mushrooms, our tomatoes and seasoning and cook for a little bit longer. So, our Italian sausage has begun to brown. So now it's time to add in our other ingredients, and just to let you know, we have drained off any excess fat in the saucepan there before we put in our vegetables. So in goes our mushrooms, lovely, and our tomatoes. So, our vegetables and our tomatoes are in there, and now, last but not least, let's add in our Italian seasoning, which is just gonna give it that great added flavor. So, we're gonna cook that until the Italian sausage is no longer pink at all, is cooked all the way through, and our vegetables are nice and tender. Well, we've taken our polenta and our zucchini out from under the broiler and all we've done is slice our zucchini crosswise like so. Now, our polenta has got a nice light brown color as you can see, so it's nice and crispy, looking fantastic, and our meat and veg are done as well. Those tomatoes have softened. They're nice and juicy. The meat is cooked through. So now it's time to plate up. This is my favorite part because I know I'm gonna be eating soon. So, all we can do is put some of our polenta down there. Now, as I said, there's so many ways you can cook polenta, with butter, with cheese, you know, with different things, vegetables, meat. Let's spoon some of our lovely sausage mushroom mixture on top of that there, delicious, like so. And last but not least, let us put some of our zucchini on there too. We can do it with our fingers if we like. Make it look nice and aesthetically beautiful. Full of color. Just smells delicious too. Wow. And if you serve this up to friends, they will be super impressed. And last but not least, let's sprinkle on our grated parmesan cheese and that's just probably gonna melt up on top of that hot dish right there. Oh, just gorgeous. I am so tempted to eat that right now, but I won't. I will finish up. Everyone, that's how you make a Polenta Sausage Bowl.
What You'll Need
  • 1  16  ounce tub refrigerated polenta with sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2   medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1   tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1   pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1  8  ounce package sliced mushrooms
  • 1   cup grape tomatoes
  • 1   teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  •  Finely shredded Parmesan cheese


Step By Step
1
Preheat broiler. Lightly grease baking sheet. Cut polenta in 12 slices. Place polenta and zucchini on baking sheet. Brush with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until polenta is lightly browned and zucchini is crisp-tender; turning once.
2
Meanwhile, in large skillet cook and break up sausage over medium heat until sausage begins to brown. Drain off fat. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, and seasoning to skillet; cook for 5 minutes, until meat is no longer pink. Slice zucchini crosswise. Spoon sausage mixture and zucchini over polenta. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes 4 servings.


This is a great dinner for the summer months when tomatoes and zucchini are in season; you can use whichever variety of Italian sausage you prefer, spicy or sweet. And have a glass of Chianti with your polenta-sausage bowl -- it will make it an "authentic" Italian meal!
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