I got locked in my closet last night. Don’t ask me how. Ok, I will tell you know. See, I have one of those funny ha ha boyfriends. A boyfriend who plays pranks and does hilarious things all the time. One of them being walking into the closet while I am in there looking for something, forcing his way into my teeny closet with me, closing the door, and declaring its “seven minutes in heaven!” Did I find this amusing? No. I was in the middle of something, doing complicated work stuff. I reached for the door handle and gave it a good twist. Nothing. “Huh.” I thought. Tried it a few more times, nothing. We got locked in. As I tried to turn the knob again and again, the knob came off in my hand. Trying to stick the knob back in the hole just pushes the handle from the other side out more. I knew if we lost that handle, we would be screwed. I ended up unscrewing the screws on the handle hardware with a pocketknife I had in my closet (again, don’t ask). This whole process took about 30 minutes, complete with panicked text messages to Jenny and Adrianna, an awkward phone call to my neighbor that ended up being a long babbling nonsensical embarrassing voicemail, and tears of laughter. I’m just glad I didn’t have to call the fire department.
That story has absolutely nothing to do with baked polenta, so I won’t even try to make some random connection. I do really love all the things in this recipe though. Polenta, goat cheese, Italian sausage, and cremini mushrooms. All together this will make for pretty darn good side dish to a lovely salad. Go for it.
Serves 5 to 7
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 lb spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
2 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced thyme
4 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups coarse yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
crumbled goat cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Pour 1/2 tablespoon oil into a [10”] heavy bottom skillet and brown sausage, over medium-high heat. Pour sausage into a mixing bowl and set aside. Drain excess oil from pan.
3. Pour remaining oil into the skillet and add mushrooms. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion, garlic and thyme and continue to sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Pour mushroom mixture over sausage and fold together. Set aside.
5. Pour water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Generously season water with salt and pepper. Whisk cornmeal into water and reduce heat to medium. Continuously stir the polenta for about 5 minutes. Add butter, goat cheese and parmesan and stir until fully incorporated. Adjust seasonings.
6. Lightly grease the skillet used to sauté the sausage and vegetables. Pour half the polenta into the skillet and spread into an even layer. Pour all but 1/2 cup of the sausage/mushroom mixture, in an even layer, over the polenta and top with remaining polenta (creating almost a layered casserole). Sprinkle the top with the remaining sausage/mushroom mixture and crumbled goat cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Serve.
Did you make this recipe? We want to see!
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Kylie @ immaeatthat
This looks insane! My sister is dating an Italian guy and now she won’t shut up about polenta lol. Will have to make her this!
Awesome. Made it tonight:)
Teri Lyn Fisher
Thanks Lisa. We know about her. She is a serial stealer. Thanks!
I didn’t expect to find a one pot meal when I saw the picture. What a fabulous dish!
This looks delicious! Quick question – I only have a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Could I use that instead? Or could I use a ceramic Le Cruset dish instead? Thank you!
Either would totally work!
I’m always eager to try things out with my cast iron pan! I have some fairly coarse blue cornmeal in my pantry that I’m looking for creative uses for. Do you think it would work as a polenta?
lol at your story, “seven mins in heaven” aahah
i ruv polenta, the caserole-esque idea is lovely, def gonna try it out next time.
oh man does this look amazing.
lauren @ the talking kitchen
ahhhh I recently fell in love with polenta and this is putting me over the top! thank you!
We all love polenta in our family but then my husband is Italian and I lived there for a decade. Yours looks really creamy and I love the accompaniments.
Cupcake and Talk
I love the Polenta recipe. What a cute story, after the fact, of course. I am glad you got out.
Yeah, that sounds like a situation I can see myself get stuck in. I also have a hubby full of pranks up his sleeve! How funny! This polenta recipe is gorgeous though! I just love the combination of ingredients! Stunning..
shelly (cookies and cups)
This looks so stinking amazing.
Jenny @ BAKE
These photos are stunning!
I worship at the alter of Polenta. I WILL be making this!!!
That’s probably one of the best stories I’ve heard in a long time…the same way it’s been a LONG time since I heard anyone using the term, “seven minutes in heaven”! LOL Seriously, epic snafu in life, so glad you shared that. ;) This looks AMAZING! I don’t eat sausage but I’m going to try it out sans meat because I’m sure it’s still incredible!
Side note question- what brand of cast iron skillet do you recommend/use?
Lodge Manufacturing Co. makes the best ones….nothing fancy, but really durable and easy to maintain/season! They’re inexpensive and you can find them everywhere!…crate and barrel, target, etc.
I am going to try this. It looks delicious! Thanks for sharing!
The Culinary Chase
Isn’t it an amazing grain! I have made so many polenta dishes before but none like this one. Thanks for posting! :)
oh my this sounds good & we LOVE polenta! Will definitely be trying this – thanks!
Living The Sweet Life
This looks like the perfect polenta recipe – – delicious!! I’ll have to bookmark this for the middle of winter when I can’t wait to warm up. GREAT recipe :)
Oh man! I might’ve panicked in that closet situation!
On the other hand, this polenta looks effing amazing. I want to gobble it up while in an air conditioned house.
Bev @ Bev Cooks
Dude, I’m all over this. And I get locked in the closet all the time!
Probably shouldn’t have just voiced that.
Heather (Heather's Dish)
i looooooooooooooove polenta and never make it! this one sounds like heaven in a cast iron skillet…
Other than getting locked in the closet, the idea of someone squeezing in and calling it seven minutes in heaven is totally adorable! He thinks being trapped in a confined space with you is heaven – I’d say that’s love. :-)
My husband HATES polenta…but I love it. This is being made during his next work trip :)