Polenta with Sausage

Pairs Well With

Serves 4-6


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed, then discarded (or half spicy/half sweet sausages—I cut them in pieces about ½ wide-like coins)
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed flat
1 cup Pedroncelli Chardonnay
1 (28- to 32-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Polenta (see note)
1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup) plus additional for serving (or use 4 oz of soft monterey jack or teleme cheese in thin slices)


Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add sausage meat and cook, turning over halfway through, until meat is browned and just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer meat to a bowl using a slotted spoon and add bell pepper and garlic to fat in skillet. Reduce heat to moderate and cook, stirring occasionally, until pepper is just tender and garlic is golden, 5 to 6 minutes. 

Add wine and sausage and simmer on medium high, scraping up brown bits on bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon, until liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice and black pepper and simmer on medium, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, until sauce is slightly thickened, 30 minutes.

While sauce is cooking, make polenta per package directions. Add sauce and cheese to cooked polenta—you can layer jack or teleme cheese or sprinkle Parmigiano alternately with sauce. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.