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Water Buffalo Sausage Polenta Casserole

From Athens Locally Grown

<p>My stepson and I tried this recipe as a new way to enjoy our Zesty Italian Sausages. It was tasty! I would love to have a local source for buffalo mozarella as the true source of mozarella is water buffalo (we don&#8217;t milk ours). In America it&#8217;s made with cow&#8217;s milk. We sell some of our heifers to new dairies in the southeast, so I hope to refer them in the future.</p>
Source: (I used our zesty Italian instead of sweet Italian sausuage and changed the name slightly) (Entered by Shalley Carrell)
Serves: 6

4 T olive oil
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 T oregano, fresh, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 lb water buffalo Zesty Italian Sausage, casings removed
2 lbs prepared polenta
8 oz fresh mozarella, buffalo if possible
1 tsp fennel seeds

Step by Step Instructions
  1. Prepare the polenta according to the directions on package. We use Sylvan Falls Mill's polenta (ordered here on ALG). It takes a little effort to prepare it, but it's really worth it!
  2. Heat 3 T of olive oil in a large (2-3 qt) saucepan on mediuim heat. Add the sliced onion and sausage and saute, stirring often, until the meat is browned. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and fennel seeds to pan. Cook, stirring occassionally, for 2 minutes. Add the tomato, cover the pan, lower the heat to medium, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. While sauce is cooking, coat the bottom of a 9x13-inch lasagna or gratin pan (a pan that can handle the heat of a broiler) with 1 T of oil. Add the prepared polenta (or slices) to the pan and coat the top with a little more olive oil. Broil the polenta about 4 inches from the heating element until golden brown and crispy, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Pour sauce over broiled polenta, then arrange mozzarella slices over the top and return the casserole to the broiler. Broil until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.