Today’s Recipe Recon comes to you via Donna Currie of Cookistry. Donna and I “met” while working on the One-Pot Blogging Party for Emeril Lagasse’s cookbook, Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders. Smart and funny, Donna is a wonderful cook and an even better writer. I say that only because I’ve sampled her writing, but not her food!
Donna lives in Colorado with her husband, Bob, and their dog, Snickers. (How great a dog name is that?) Bob had some health troubles over the last year, but is now home, on the mend and happy to be eating Donna’s cooking again.
One night I was craving something Italian with a red sauce, but I didn’t really want pasta. Poking around Cookistry led me to this recipe for Italian Sausage with Polenta. I knew that, after a couple of tweaks here and there, it would be the perfect thing to satisfy my craving.
The first thing I did was swap turkey sausage for the pork sausage and I eliminated some of the salt, olive oil, butter and cream cheese. You’ll note that my carb count and my sugar count actually went UP a little bit. This is because I used low-sodium canned tomato products. Sometimes lower fat and lower sodium products actually have more carbs than their “less healthy” counterparts. I thought about using low-fat cream cheese instead of regular, but it has double the carbs! I decided that, for me, the lower sodium versions of the tomatoes reduced the sodium content enough that it was worth a few extra carb grams. You mileage may vary. READ THOSE LABELS!
|Original Recipe||Recon-ed Version|
|Total Fat||26 g||15 g|
|Saturated Fat||12 g||4 g|
|Cholesterol||66 mg||63 mg|
|Sodium||2,514 mg||1,206 mg|
|Total Carbs||36 g||40 g|
|Fiber||6 g||7 g|
|Sugar||10 g||13 g|
|Protein||21 g||19 g|
Here’s my version of Donna’s recipe. Enjoy!
Italian Sausage with Polenta
Adapted from Cookistry
FOR THE SAUSAGE & PEPPERS:
4 links sweet Italian turkey sausage
1/2 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green bell pepper, cored and cut into strips
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce, no salt added
1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, no salt added
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (I used Penzey’s salt-free Italian Herb Mix)
pinch of hot pepper flakes
FOR THE POLENTA:
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup polenta (course ground cornmeal)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 ounce parmigiano cheese, grated
1 ounce cream cheese
Make the sausage & peppers: Spray a heavy, deep skillet with cooking spray. Add the sausages and brown on all sides. Remove the sausages from the pan and drain on paper towels. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the bell peppers, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, black pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine, then add the sausages back to the pan and push them down into the sauce. Cook on low until the sausages are cooked all the way through and the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes or so.
Make the polenta: Bring the water and salt to a boil in a deep saucepan. Slowly whisk in the polenta in a steady stream. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, for about 30 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. (You’ll want to use a long-handled spoon since the mixture will pop a lot and could burn your hand.) Remove from heat and stir in the butter, parmigiano and cream cheese and mix well.
To serve: Divide polenta among four pasta bowls, then top with sausage and pepper mixture.
Makes 4 servings
Per serving: 364 calories, 15g fat (4g sat), 63mg cholesterol, 1,206mg sodium, 40g carb, 7g fiber, 13g sugar, 19g protein
Nutritional Analysis: This dish is a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Iron. (Source: nutritiondata.com) If you need to reduce the sodium even more, cook the polenta without salt and cut back on the amount of parmigiano cheese.