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Cheesy Polenta with Sausage, Fennel & Onions

Cheesy Polenta with Sausage, Fennel & Onions


  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • 2 cups milk

  • 1 ½ cups polenta or cornmeal

  • 1 cup shredded fontina

  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • 3 tbsp. EVOO

  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

  • 1 medium bulb fennel—trimmed, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced

  • 1 large red or yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • ½ cup white wine, or 1/2 cup chicken stock plus a splash of white wine vinegar


  • Step 1

    Heat the chicken stock and milk in a large round-bottom pan, such as a risotto pot or Dutch oven, over low until barely simmering.

  • Step 2

    Whisk in the polenta until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and creamy, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in cheeses until melted.

  • Step 3

    In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. EVOO, one turn of the pan, over medium-high. Add the sausage, breaking up meat with a spoon, and cook until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. EVOO, two turns of the pan, then stir in the fennel and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer until it evaporates. Add the garlic; stir for 2 minutes, then pour in the white wine (or the stock and vinegar). Simmer until liquid has evaporated. Return sausage to pan, stirring to incorporate.

  • Step 4

    Ladle the polenta into shallow bowls and top with fennel, onions, and sausage.