Creamy Polenta with Asparagus and Sausage

By July 17, 2015

Having some cornmeal on hand is great for last-minute dinners. If you don't have any asparagus, sub in another green of choice (the recipe that inspired this one features spinach, but kale, chard, or broccoli florets would all be tasty.)

 1/2 lb asparagus
 1# bulk sausage
 Butter or oil
 1/2 onion, finely diced
 1/2 cup white wine (split into two portions, 1/4 cup each)
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 3 cups stock or water
 1 cup cornmeal
 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
 1 tsp dijon mustard
 2-4 tbsp minced parsley
 pinch of salt and pepper
Blanch the Asparagus
1

You'll need two pots for this recipe: one smaller pot (blanch asparagus, warm stock, make cream sauce) and one larger, preferably enameled cast iron pot (like a Dutch Oven) to brown the sausage and make the polenta.

2

Wash the asparagus, and then snap off the ends (about 1/2-1" should break off easily in your hands.) Reserve the ends in your freezer for soup later. Peel the skin off the bottom half of the stalks if they are very thick (later in their season). Thin stalks of asparagus are good without peeling.

3

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and then pop in the thickest spears. Two minutes later, drop in the thinnest ones. One minute later, turn off heat and drain off the hot water. Plunge the asparagus into an ice water bath. Allow them to completely cool, and then dry. Roughly chop into 1/2" pieces.

Brown the sausage.
4

If the sausage is in links, remove and discard the casings. Bring a little oil or butter to medium high heat in the Dutch Oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Once it's lightly browned, remove it to a plate and set aside. Meanwhile, heat up your stock in the small pot to a simmer.

Make the polenta.
5

In the same pot where you cooked the sausage, melt a little more butter or oil over medium, medium-low and add in the onions and allow to develop some color. After about 3-4 minutes, add 1/4 cup of the white wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook for 5 more minutes, add in the garlic and cook for an additional minute or two. Add in the stock and bring to a boil. Then pour in the cornmeal and stir.

6

Slowly pour in the cornmeal, stirring vigorously to break apart clumps. Cook for about 10 minutes. It should be thick and relatively soupy. If it starts to become like cement, add in some water to thin.

Make the Sauce.
7

While the polenta is cooking, in a second pot heat up the cream or milk, the last 1/4 cup of wine and the dijon mustard in the small pot. Bring it to a simmer, and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for just a minute or two, turn off the heat and add in the parsley.

8

Add in the cooked sausage and asparagus to the polenta, then fold in the cream sauce and serve in small dishes.

Ingredients

 1/2 lb asparagus
 1# bulk sausage
 Butter or oil
 1/2 onion, finely diced
 1/2 cup white wine (split into two portions, 1/4 cup each)
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 3 cups stock or water
 1 cup cornmeal
 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
 1 tsp dijon mustard
 2-4 tbsp minced parsley
 pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Blanch the Asparagus
1

You'll need two pots for this recipe: one smaller pot (blanch asparagus, warm stock, make cream sauce) and one larger, preferably enameled cast iron pot (like a Dutch Oven) to brown the sausage and make the polenta.

2

Wash the asparagus, and then snap off the ends (about 1/2-1" should break off easily in your hands.) Reserve the ends in your freezer for soup later. Peel the skin off the bottom half of the stalks if they are very thick (later in their season). Thin stalks of asparagus are good without peeling.

3

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and then pop in the thickest spears. Two minutes later, drop in the thinnest ones. One minute later, turn off heat and drain off the hot water. Plunge the asparagus into an ice water bath. Allow them to completely cool, and then dry. Roughly chop into 1/2" pieces.

Brown the sausage.
4

If the sausage is in links, remove and discard the casings. Bring a little oil or butter to medium high heat in the Dutch Oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Once it's lightly browned, remove it to a plate and set aside. Meanwhile, heat up your stock in the small pot to a simmer.

Make the polenta.
5

In the same pot where you cooked the sausage, melt a little more butter or oil over medium, medium-low and add in the onions and allow to develop some color. After about 3-4 minutes, add 1/4 cup of the white wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook for 5 more minutes, add in the garlic and cook for an additional minute or two. Add in the stock and bring to a boil. Then pour in the cornmeal and stir.

6

Slowly pour in the cornmeal, stirring vigorously to break apart clumps. Cook for about 10 minutes. It should be thick and relatively soupy. If it starts to become like cement, add in some water to thin.

Make the Sauce.
7

While the polenta is cooking, in a second pot heat up the cream or milk, the last 1/4 cup of wine and the dijon mustard in the small pot. Bring it to a simmer, and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for just a minute or two, turn off the heat and add in the parsley.

8

Add in the cooked sausage and asparagus to the polenta, then fold in the cream sauce and serve in small dishes.

Creamy Polenta with Asparagus and Sausage

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