Baked Polenta with Sausage and Tomato-Pepper Sauce
- 5 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 medium yellow onion, halved lengthwise, then cut into thin wedges
- 1 medium yellow, red, or orange bell pepper, cut lengthwise into thin slices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon each salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red chile flakes
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage, sweet or spicy (or 1 lb. Italian sausage links removed from their casings)
- 2 tubes (16 oz. each) prepared polenta, sliced into 1/2-in.-thick rounds
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced into 1/4-in.-thick rounds
- Preheat broiler to high. Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a 2- to 3-qt. saucepan set over medium heat, then add tomatoes and oregano and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, and chile flakes, and stir to combine. Cover pan, lower heat to medium, and cook until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add sausage, stirring and breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon as it firms up, about 5 minutes. Cover pan and cook until vegetables are tender and sausage is cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes more. Add tomato sauce and simmer 10 minutes.
- While sauce is cooking, pour remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. oil into a 9- by 13-in. baking pan and tilt to coat bottom. Add polenta slices to pan and turn to coat with oil, then arrange slices lengthwise in 3 slightly overlapping rows. Broil polenta about 4 in. from heating element until golden brown and crispy, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pour sauce over broiled polenta, then arrange mozzarella slices over the top. Broil until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.