If you like polenta, I think you'll really like this dish. Unfortunately, Joe and I apparently do not like polenta. Go figure. Neither of us had tried polenta before so I thought it would be fun to experiment, so I picked up a roll of sundried tomato and garlic polenta and went searching for a recipe. Colleen recommended this recipe and since Joe and I are big fans of Italian flavors I thought it would be perfect. I made a lot of changes to the recipe to suit our tastes - I took out the peppers and replaced them with spinach and I used parmesan chicken sausage. I also took out the olive oil and used less mozzarella to make it a little healthier (changes are reflected in the recipe below). There was nothing wrong with the dish - the flavors are great - but Joe and I couldn't really get behind the texture of the polenta. But at least now we can say we've tried it!
Baked Polenta with Sausage and Spinach
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 medium yellow onion, halved lengthwise, then cut into thin wedges
1 bag spinach
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon each salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes
5 links any flavor chicken sausage, cut into small pieces
1 tube (16 ounces each) prepared polenta, sliced into 1/2-in.-thick rounds
Preheat broiler to high. Spray a 2- to 3-quart saucepan with cooking spray and set over medium heat, then add tomatoes and oregano and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir in spinach after 10 minutes and allow to wilt. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan coated with cooking spray, add chicken sausage, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes, and stir to combine. Cover pan, lower heat to medium, and cook until vegetables soften and sausage heats through, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and simmer 10 minutes.
While sauce is cooking, spray a 9- by 13-in. baking pan with cooking spray. Add polenta slices to pan arranging lengthwise in 3 slightly overlapping rows. Broil polenta about 4 inches from heating element until golden brown and crispy, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour sauce over broiled polenta, then sprinkle mozzarella over top. Broil until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.