Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pumpkin Polenta with Sausage and Fennel

A morning show I used to listen to made fun of Rachel Ray all the time, especially the way the commercials for her show would always say, "Next time, on RACH!"
I have seen a few of her 40 Dollars a Day show, but not her talk show. She is strangely perky.
BUT-but, I love her magazine and I do like her recipes. And I have made a lot of them, and almost all of them have been extremely tasty.
On her website, there was a link for Fall Comfort Food. Now fall is my favorite season. And since I try to eat most foods seasonally, I get even more excited when fall food time comes around.
So this sounded really really tasty. I like sausage. And fennel. And polenta with cheese.
Some ingredient notes: Rachel always uses quick cooking polenta. I never see this at the grocery store. I see pre-made polenta which won't work, or the regular stuff which is corn grits/polenta. You are supposed to cook the regular stuff for 30 minutes. So if you use the real stuff like I did, you should probably start that before the sausage mixture.
Also, I just used freshly grated nutmeg for the first time! I grated it on my micro-plane which is really fast and easy.
And lastly, I used basil instead of parsley to garnish.
So try this out. Have it with some apple cider and watch the leaves fall.

Rachel Ray's Pumpkin Polenta with Italian Sausage and Fennel
1 Tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 14-oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup polenta (quick cooking or regular)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (I left this out)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup shredded romano cheese
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (or basil) chopped
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (Rach says to eyeball it!)

1. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown the sausage. Transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. Add 1 tablespoon of EVOO (1 turn of the pan) to the skillet and then the onion and fennel. Cook the vegetables over moderate heat until tender but not brown. Add the wine and return the sausage to the skillet. Cook the wine away, a minute or so.
2. 2. In a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock and butter to a boil and stir in the pumpkin. Return to a boil, whisk in the polenta and stir until it masses together, 2 minutes. (Watch out for splatters.)
*For regular polenta, start first and cook stirring frequently for about 30 minutes.*
Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the nutmeg, thyme, salt, pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese. Top the pumpkin polenta with the sausage and fennel. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve.

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Snacky French said...

hey laura!
maryann gave me the link to your blog. i've enjoyed reading it. hope you are doing well!
i actually stated my own blog.

kristi ( from landis )

Reigna said...

I love Rachel Ray. She's so cute, right?! This polenta looks delish. I've never actually tried polenta. Is it similar to grits?

Laura said...

It is basically the same thing as grits. My regular non-fast cooking polenta is from Bob's Red Mill, and says on the packages "Corn Grits otherwise known as polenta" Now I did find the fast cooking polenta at a new supermarket, which is a lot more finely ground. You can also make polenta, then put it in a pan, cool it, cut it into squares and pan-fry or bake it. Yum