This meal can easily be made into a vegetarian meal! Here is what you do: Omit the sausage. Swap Dry White Wine for the chicken stock/broth, and add 2 additional portobello mushrooms and 1 jarred roasted red pepper (Drained and Chopped).
Let me make one note before beginning - the olive tapenade can be omitted if you prefer. That was one of the versions presented and we decided to make it that way. So, let's see what the ingredients are to make it with the sausage.
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 lb sweet bulk sausage
- 1 portobello mushroom, stem removed and thinly sliced
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
- 4 tablespoons store bought olive tapenade (if you want to make your own like I did, see this post)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 24oz tube prepared polenta, cut into 21 disks about 1/4 inch thick
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
Preheat a large skillet with the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, add in the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Once the sausage starts to brown, add in the portobello mushrooms and incorporate with the meat. Next add in the onions, garlic, and rosemary. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Finish cooking the sausage and once the mushrooms and onions have wilted, add in the stock/broth and lemon juice. Bump up the heat to high and cook for 3-4 minutes until the liquid has almost evaporated. Give everything a taste and adjust salt/pepper/red pepper flakes if needed.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together the following: Ricotta Cheese, 1 egg, lemon zest, Parmesan Cheese, bread crumbs, and the olive tapenade.
NOTE: Before I continue... if your tastes prefer, you can omit the olive tapenade and use pesto in it's place. Or remember, you don't even have to use either of those!!!
Brush a 8x8 baking dish with a little olive oil and place 7 of the polenta disks on the bottom of the dish. Divide the cheese mixture into thirds as well as the sausage mixture. Now you will layer like a "lasagna". First 7 disks of polenta, 1/3 cheese mixture, 1/3 sausage mixture. Repeat two more times, finishing with the sausage mixture. When you are finished, top with the mozzarella, cover with foil, and bake 15-18 minutes until everything is nice and hot!
The last thing is to enjoy! Like I said, this dish really works for breakfast or dinner. The photo doesn't make this meal look like anything snazzy, but let me tell you, it is so yummy. You can really taste all of the elements to this dish! I hope you will give it a try!
Thanks for reading and I hope you try something new for dinner tonight!