It’s hard to imagine ever getting tired of pasta, but every now and then a fresh idea is warranted. Enter polenta, that Italian staple that many home cooks don’t use often enough.
Polenta, a close cousin of cornmeal, cooks up into a flavorful platform for almost anything you’d otherwise put on pasta. Polenta is terrific with red sauce, excellent with bacon and shrimp, and supercomforting with sausages, peppers, and onions, as in this recipe.
It’s also easy to make. With instant polenta, you simply whisk it into boiling water, cook it for a few minutes, and then set it aside to thicken up. Meanwhile, cook Italian sausage and vegetables in a skillet, add crushed tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and toss in some chopped olives for a briny finish. When you’re ready to eat, just spoon the sausage mixture over your comforting polenta porridge. It’s the homiest, most restorative dish you can imagine. With no pasta in sight.