I bought a bag of sweet baby peppers the other day and knew that if I didn’t use them soon, they would go off. Sausage, peppers and onions are perfect for a sandwich (hoagie) but I was thinking of something more for dinner. I’ve made many versions of polenta over the years but as I was grilling the peppers, it suddenly occurred to me that I could use quinoa, too. Before you go and turn your nose up at the notion that quinoa isn’t a substitute for polenta, let me say this, it can! Especially when you have a sauce like this over it. If you want it to be creamy like porridge, then you’ll need to add mascarpone and more water or chicken stock. I know, if you’re an Italian reading this, I can imagine you gesticulating and horrified that I even made the correlation. That said, confirmation from Mr. S. to make this again is all I needed to hear.
4 bell peppers, roasted or grilled
large onion, sliced
450g Italian sausages (casing removed)
1 can Italian cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 cup white quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add onions with a pinch of sea salt and cook until soft. Remove from pan. In the same pan, add sausage meat. Stir, breaking up chunks of meat and cook until meat is browned. Add tomatoes and stir. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes then add onions and peppers. Simmer until heated through.
For the quinoa polenta, rinse quinoa in cold water, drain and add to saucepan. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered 12 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir and add cheese.
Arrange quinoa on a plate and spoon over the sausage sauce. Top with chopped parsley.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Use bulk Italian sausage meat to save time from having to remove the casings. If you can’t find canned cherry tomatoes, use chopped tomatoes and cook 10 or so minutes longer to allow the juice to reduce. Enjoy!