My friend Pillownaut commented in my post about Nick Stellino's Glorious Italian Cooking cookbook, where this recipe came from, that "It is impossible to make bad Italian food"...I might have to disagree with her, as this dish just didn't make the cut as being something I'd ever make again.
Part of the problem with this Braised Sausages with Polenta dish was it's appearance. Kind of a dull purple/gray. That probably came about because I used red wine (you were given a choice to use red or white) and the potatoes in the dish came out looking pathetic. The other problem with the dish is that the taste just didn't come together. Both Mr. L and the poor guest I served this to (yes, I finally had a guest over for dinner and the dish sucked, sigh) commented that the potatoes just didn't compliment the recipe especially since this was served over polenta. Not sure what went wrong, but I do plan on trying another recipe from Glorious Italian Cooking which I'm hoping sure will turn out better.
I didn't have instant polenta so I made my favorite polenta recipe (Creamy Polenta) and added the cream and a bit of cheese. It was definitely everyone's favorite part of the dish.
The recipe was easy to put together, I just wish the parts would have made a good whole.
BRAISED SAUSAGES WITH POLENTA
Salsiccie Brasate con Polenta
(Nick Stellinos Glorious Italian Cooking)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound (450 g) sweet Italian sausage (about 4 links)
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 large stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 large onion, sliced
10 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup red or white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups Chicken Stock
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound (450 g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
1/2 (13 1/2-ounce) (390-g) package instant polenta
1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)
Heat the oil in a large nonstick saute pan set on medium-high heat until it begins to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the sausages and brown on all sides, approximately 5 minutes. Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, cook the carrot, celery, onion and garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring several times. Cut the sausages, into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces and add to the pan along with the wine, 1 tablespoon of the parsley and the rosemary. Cook over medium-high heat until the wine has reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, pepper and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan with the lid slightly ajar and cook for 15 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking for another 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining parsley just before serving.
Five minutes before the sausages are done, cook the polenta according to package directions. If you wish, stir the cream and the cheese into the finished polenta. Serve immediately, as the polenta sets up quickly.
To serve, spoon a mound of polenta in the center of each dinner plate and spoon the sausage mixture on top.
Cooks Tip: If you don't have whipping cream on hand for enriching the polenta, stir in 2-3 tablespoons of butter, instead.
Note: I used red wine.
Note: The sausage was overcooked. I think maybe having it in there for 45 minutes was too long a cooking time.
I know a dish isn't the best when there is a big plate of leftovers and it sits in the fridge and never gets eaten. The leftovers of this dish were tossed in the trash after a few days. Not the best sign for a recipe!!