This cheesy sausage polenta is classic northern Italian food. It’s also the ultimate comfort food for a weeknight dinner!Jump to Recipe
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Cheesy sausage polenta is a great dinner option when you want simple comfort food! Bonus? Everything in this dish is cheap, so this is a great filling dinner for the end of the month and you’re trying to stay under budget.
I found a version of this recipe in a polenta cookbook my neighbor gave me. I had mentioned to her that I liked to cook, and during the coronavirus, she purged all her old cookbooks and gave me a bunch! Reading recipes in Italian has been a whole new level of language practice, but it’s been fun to try traditional recipes from nonna.
Sausage is a staple in Italian supermarkets and butcher shops. We always have some in the freezer for when I don’t know what to cook for dinner.
If you’re from the American south, cooking polenta is nearly identical to cooking grits. They’re pretty much the same thing but polenta tends to be more coarsely ground and therefore has a little more texture when it’s cooked.
For this recipe, you can use any semi-soft cheese you like. A popular cheese locally is called Montasio, and that’s what I usually use. Fontina is great, but the goal is something creamy and mild – use what you like!
Same thing with sausage. Here in Italy, I normally choose the typical Italian sausage. It doesn’t have a ton of spice added, mostly just great pork flavor. Try it with sweet Italian sausage.
Don’t have broth? Substitute water, but add plenty of salt. You can also sub out the the onion and garlic powder for the real thing, but it’s one more step and I usually get lazy here.
One final note: this is the kind of dish you want to eat as soon as it’s cooked. Polenta tends to seize up if it sits. Plan to eat this right away!
Cheesy Sausage Polenta
- 800 ml chicken broth (3 ½ cups)
- 200 g polenta (1 cup + 2 heaping Tb)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 300 g sausage ~11 oz
- 200 g Fontina cheese (7 oz)
- salt to taste
- Put the broth in a medium pot and boil. When it's boiling, pour the polenta in while stirring. Continue to stir until the overall texture is uniform and the water looks almost entirely absorbed (about a minute).
- Stir in garlic and onion powder, then cover and turn the heat down to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 40-45 minutes. If it starts to dry out, add another tablespoon of broth.
- Meanwhile, cook the sausage: removed from casings if necessary and break into small chunks. Brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total, and remove from heat.
- Grate the cheese if it's not already. When the polenta is done, stir in the sausage and most of the cheese.
- Serve with the last of the cheese on top!
Italian comfort food classic!
Want more fall comfort food options? Check out pinterest for more recipe inspiration!