Polenta with Sausage and Marinara

Polenta with Sausage and Marinara

I really really REALLY hate winter. In the ten years I’ve lived in South Dakota, only one winter has been decent, and that was the winter of 2011. Barely any snow, it was WARM (for South Daktoa)…It was beautiful and I loved it. All the winters since have gotten worse. I think it was 2012 that broke Jay’s brain, and caused me to have several panic attacks. Stupid Seasonal Affective Disorder. That alone sucks, but whenever we get huge snowfalls that pile up and don’t melt for months because it gets so damn cold out here, I start feeling closed in and have to fight off feelings of claustrophobia. I’m a mess for basically half the year! And I bring it up because along with all that, I have to deal with a food blogger’s worst nightmare: Crappy lighting. Although this here Polenta with Sausage and Marinara doesn’t look TOO bad…But just last week I was setting things up in my driveway, to get decent daylight. Those days are done till April, if we’re lucky!

Polenta with Sausage and Marinara

Okay, let’s be honest…The lighting is not great at all. I attempted to make a sort of diffuser but it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. But too, I’ve had worse photos, so I’ll deal with it. I’ll likely go back to making mass quantities of whatever I can over the weekends and trying to cram 6 photos shoots into a 2-hour period. This is one reason I’m envious of those who can blog for a living. Or those who have 2 cars. I live close enough I can walk home for lunch most days, but once it starts getting icy and snowy, I hole up in the break room with a book and my iPod. I think I took my last walk home for lunch until April last week. It made all my pensive thoughts bubble up.

Polenta with Sausage and Marinara

So to combat a lot of my depressive, maudlin panic, I spent the day in the kitchen, bustling away. Making polenta, as I’ve mentioned before, is oddly relaxing. So is mincing garlic, and kneading bread dough. I had no garlic to mince, but because I’m being cheap, the bambino is getting homemade bread for awhile, so I kneaded bread as well as made the polenta. Because you need time for this to firm up, plan to make this at least 4 hours before you want to eat it. And allot 35 minutes and all your arm muscles for stirring.

Yield: 4-6

Polenta with Sausage and Marinara

Polenta with Sausage and Marinara
Prep Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes


  • Butter or shortening, for greasing
  • 2 C coarse-ground cornmeal/polenta (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 6 C water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 links Italian sausage (hot or mild), sliced into thin pieces
  • 2 C marinara sauce, store-bought or homemade
  • shredded cheese, optional


Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan and set aside.

Add the salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Slowly stream in the polenta, then drop the heat to low. Begin stirring the polenta (being careful to avoid splatters) as it simmers. Stir constantly, until the polenta is thickened and creamy.

Pour the polenta into the prepared loaf pan, leveling out the top with a spatula. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the broiler. Begin heating the marinara sauce on low. Turn the polenta out onto a cutting board, and slice into pieces 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Place on a baking rack sprayed with cooking spray. Broil 5-10 minutes (or until browned as desired), flipping over and broiling 5-10 minutes more.

To cook the sausage, place the slices in a medium skillet heated over medium. Cook until browned and cooked through, stirring and flipping occasionally, 8-10 minutes.

To serve, place a couple polenta slices on a plate. Top with desired amount of sausage, and warm marinara. Top with shredded cheese (I used a 4-cheese Italian blend) if desired.

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If you want, you can omit the sausage for a vegetarian version. Omit the cheese too if you’re vegan. And if anyone has an extra ticket to Australia or New Zealand do let me know. I’m working on convincing Jay we need to start spending half the year down under–That way we can have spring and summer all year round, and just keep hopping hemispheres!

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