Creamy Slow-Cooker Polenta With Sausages
The key to creamy polenta is a relatively high ratio of liquid to dried polenta: about five to one, instead of the more standard four to one. But the more liquid you use, the longer it will take the polenta to absorb it. That’s why the best polenta is made in a slow cooker, where the dried corn can slowly hydrate all day, with no stirring or worrying about clumps or molten splatters. In this recipe, the polenta is cooked with marinara (which is part of the liquid) and roasted red peppers. Then it’s topped with quick-roasted sausages and sizzled capers and pepperoncini. If you are feeding spice-adverse kids, leave off the pepperoncini.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 2cups dried polenta (not quick-cooking)
- 1(12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- 1(32-ounce) jar good-quality marinara sauce
- 5garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
- 2tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the sausages
- Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1teaspoon garlic powder
- Kosher salt
- 6raw hot or sweet Italian sausages (pork, turkey, chicken or vegan)
- 1(3.5-ounce) jar capers, drained
- ⅓cup drained, pickled sliced pepperoncini, banana peppers or cherry peppers
- ¾cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Step 1Whisk together the polenta, roasted red peppers, marinara, garlic, olive oil, oregano, garlic powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker. Whisk in 5½ cups of water. Cook on low for 6 hours. (The polenta will keep very well on warm.)
Step 2Ten or 15 minutes before you want to eat, heat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly coat an oven-safe skillet with olive oil, and roast the sausages in the skillet in the oven until sizzling and browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the skillet and put it over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Add a little more oil if the pan is relatively dry. Add the capers and pepperoncini to the hot skillet with the sausages, and let the capers pop, 1 or 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Step 3Stir the Parmesan into the polenta. The polenta will continue to firm up as it cools; stir in a few tablespoons of water if you would like it to be looser. Serve the polenta in shallow bowls topped with sausages, capers and pepperoncini. Pass more Parmesan at the table.