Polenta with Spicy Sausage and Beans, and a Black Pepper Focaccia!!

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Comfort food doesn’t have to take all day, this meal was cooked up in no time using just a few staples that I always have stocked in my pantry. With polenta that cooks up in 5 minutes, canned beans, and some good canned tomatoes, this could easily be done in minutes for a nice midweek meal!

Brown up your Italian sausage (either spicy or mild) in a large saute pan in a little olive oil till it’s crispy, add some fresh crushed garlic, cook till golden, now add some good canned tomatoes, I love Carmelina brand for this, they have a San Marzano Italian cherry tomato in juice, that hold their shape, and are so sweet! Simmer with the sausage till cooked through.

Now add some rinsed and drained beans of your choice, along with some fresh snipped herbs. Cook until all the flavors infuse. Start your quick polenta in another pan, and when its done, layer your sausage and beans on top.

For years my family has loved a black pepper focaccia that I would always pick up at my favorite Italian store, that has recently closed after being in business for over 30 years! I’m so sad! We miss you, D’ Andrea’s!

Anyway, this is my quickie version. Take some pizza dough, either store bought or homemade.

Roll it out, but keep it thick, drizzle with olive oil, and put lots of crushed black pepper all over. Make your dimples on top and push the pepper into the dough. You can leave it just like that, or in this case I added Kalamata olives and some snipped rosemary to it. Bake 400, till nice and golden, but still soft like a focaccia.

Buon Appetito, and Have A Great Weekend!!

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  1. My, my, my. This is going to be good! It’s cold and yucky here and I need some comfort food. This is it!

  2. Oh, Lord, tagging this right away. Thanks for the quick-meal idea, it’s just my kind of thing.

  3. Oh, SWEET Heavens! I’ll be making this one–maybe as soon as tonight. Comfort food to an extreme.

  4. Polenta is always wonderful and this dish looks extra delicious!

  5. Now, hold on! A proud Italian cook cooks polenta for at least 30-40 minutes! 🙂

    I agree – it really doesn’t take that much to cook it up! Great recipes, articles and hey I am also in Chicago! Well, NW suburbs – Arlington Heights.


    Gabi @ Mamaliga.com

  6. This meal is screaming with flavor, flavor and more flavor!!!!My mouth is watering!

  7. I’ve never cooked Polenta, but you make it sound so simple – it is right? I have to give this a go because sausages, tomatoes and beans are our weekday lifesavers too. Your lasagne will have to wait… uhm, maybe.

    Julian’s at work so I’ll have to pick his brain for the ricotta recipe later in the day. I did find this for you (it looks similar to Jules’) – http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/000282.html

  8. This is the kind of food my daddy loved, ooh great memories.so many reasons to love this blog
    Thanks for your good wishes I feel better now.

  9. Shoot! D’Andrea’s closed. I didn’t know. What a shame. I was just there the last time I was in Chicago. I used to go in there to buy their cheese ravioli. Oh well, at least there’s still Caputo’s. Lovely hearty food you’re serving up!

  10. What great comfort food. My mouth is watering..:)

  11. Don’t you just love having great staples on hand in the kitchen? This looks really good!


  12. Michelle,I hope you find them!

    Claudia, Love your blog too!

    Chris, Welcome, welcome and thanks! I’ll be stopping by.

    Lor, Theres a definate chill in the air here!

    Lisa, they made the best Italian sausage! no one compares.

    Aaaah, thanks Peter!

    Ivonne, I’ll keep it warm, come on by.

    Joanne, I know what you mean!

    Sally, All their customers are depressed!

    Prudy, I hope you do try it.

    K & K, It makes my hubby really happy!

    Hi Cynthia, You’re too funny! 😉

    Kellypea, Yumm, I’ll come by and check it out!

    Jerseygirl 211, Oh I’m so glad you liked it, you made my day. And welcome here!!

  13. jerseygirl211 says

    Good Evening,

    I made this polenta/sausage meal for our dinner this evening, it was great!!!!! My husband enjoyed it very much and mentioned that his mother made something similar. I can’t wait until I try another one of your recipes. THANKS FOR SHARING.


  14. What lovely food — specially that pan of sausage and polenta. So easy, too! Thought I’d try some foccacia tonight — with grapes. We’ll see how it goes. 😉

  15. It is only because I have a meeting to attend that I am reluctantly taking myself away from your site… I have been going through some of your previous posts that I’ve missed. It sucks that you have made me so hungry and all I have to eat right now are some salt crackers and a cup of tea. Ah well. Thanks for the torture! 🙂

  16. If this wouldn’t make the hubbies happy – we don’t know what would!!
    Karla & Karrie

  17. Oh, how perfectly lovely on a crisp fall night. I’m still drooling over your butternut squash lasagna. I won’t be able to rest until I get it made.

  18. Sad about D’Andrea’s – good job your a great cook, otherwise it wouldn’t just be sad, but a catastrophe.

  19. Perfect for the coming season! I love *hearty* food, my waistline not so much but who’s counting right!

  20. Oh my gosh … I’m on my way over so please keep some warm for me!!!

  21. One moment you’re serving up restaurant grade dishes and the next you’re making everyone feel comfy and at home with this rustic dish.

    I want this meal and sit in front of the tv.

  22. That looks just wonderful. My (and my husband’s) favorite kind of meal. I haven’t made focaccia for so long; you’ve inspired me now. I’m sorry you lost your store; so sad when these favorite places close their doors…

  23. simple, comforting and tasty, perfect food for coming into the winter!:)

  24. I saw you listed on my friend’s blog and I just had to check you out. I don’t know why I’m not Italian, I love,love the food,culture, wine or anything else connected. Then you have quick comfort recipes. I’m your fan forever. I’m putting you on my Blog List if you don’t mind. Stop by when you get a chance.


  25. i love this blog. so beautiful. i have recently done both of these – the pizza bianca sans cheese and a similar polenta in the bowl with meat and vegetables on top.

    just wonderful food – my favoroite.

  26. Everything looks so good.
    I’ve not seen this brand of tomatoes in my store. But will definitely look for them.

  27. Squawmama, Welcome! That would be fun!

    Hi Laurie, Hope your having fun with the family!

    Lori, You got to try polenta!

    Courtney, We’re so sad about D’ Andrea’s!

    Hi Kathy, Have a wonderful trip!

    Aggie and Mike, yes total comfort food!

    Thanks Lucy and Jenn! 😉

    Paula, The “foccacia” is super quick!

    Rebecca, It really is easy!

    Maryann, I love when the ovens on, it warms up the house!

    Barbara Thanks!

    Gloria, You’re so cute!

    Dazi, lol!

    Susan, As soon as it gets cold I want it!

    Lisa, They really don’t take long at all!

    Marla, Hi and thanks!

    Cathy! Oh, the good old days! We’re finding here that when the parents get up in age their kids no longer want to keep the store or bakery open. To much work! So sad!!!!

    Ohio, come on over!

    Jen, It works in a pinch!

    Gluten free, It’s a great alternative isn’t it?

    Polenta challenged girl,I mean Stacey, lol
    You’re funny! I’m sure you could handle this. For a quick polenta I buy Colavita brand in a box. It’s ready in 5 mins. Easy, just follow the directions.

    Kevin, Super simple!

    Jenny, Thanks

  28. jerseygirl211 says

    Ciao, 🙂

    I’m not sure how I got to your blog tonight, but I’m so pleased that I did. I love every recipe that I read and will try to surprise my Italian born husband with some of them soon. I’m afraid that he has become too Americanized and I’ll have to re-introduce him to some of these wonderful dishes. I do make Polenta often, but have not tried anything like what you have shown here. I’ll be sure to check back often. Thank you so much for sharing.

    ‘D’ aka Marian

  29. Another beautiful post Marie! I love both recipes and am drooling at the site of them!

  30. This sounds super simple and tasty!

  31. Marie,
    I am a spaz when it comes to polenta.
    Do you use the instant kind? or just a box that says polenta.

    We had polenta in NYC the other nt with wild mushrooms on top, and it was to DIE for. I love it w/ sausage, but mine always comes out like mushy cornmeal. What am I doing wrong?
    Polenta Challenged Girl
    (it’s me, Stacey)

  32. I love polenta! It is a winter staple for me as I use it to in place of pasta.

  33. Oh, SO good! And I never thought of using prepped pizza dough for focaccia – I’m having a real “d’oh!” moment.

    This all looks perfect.

  34. I am on my way, and even bringing my own plate and fork. It is so cool here the heat came on this morning, and I so want a piece of that bread 🙂

  35. Oh, I am so making this. In fact, I just might scrap my planned menu and make this tonight. Sorry that one of your favorite Italian stores closed! I grew up in an area with a heavy Italian immigrant population (my own grandparents included!) and there was an abundance of fabulous Italian bakeries, specialty stores, etc. Even the big box groceries in town would buy from these local bakeries, so you could get superb Italian breads pretty much anywhere. When I moved to the South, I was shocked to realize that I could not find good Italian bread — anywhere. My only hope is to learn how to make my own. I’ll start with your focaccia!

  36. Your last two recipes are comfort food indeed. They look lush and yummy!

  37. This is a great quick meal!

  38. Beautiful dish, Marie! This is my favorite way to enjoy polenta. You just reminded me that I haven’t made it in a long time!

  39. Madonna santa!! That’s so northern Italian I could die!!!! LOVE IT!!!

  40. Sorry ,sorry Marie I think I put “Maryann” sorry that happens that always I will see first you and Maryann or viceversa!!xxGloria
    Your crazy friend…

  41. Beautiful focaccia, Marie — and easy! My mouth is watering. 😉

  42. Oh boy! Down home italian fare! Great job here Marie! It looks so delicious! Isn’t it nice to turn on the oven again?
    Big Hug!
    Maryann xox

  43. This DOES sound easy and delicious!

  44. Perfect, perfect recipe! Gosh, this meal is sooooo right for my tastebuds! Love the San Marzano cherry tomatoes. I’ve been craving focaccia, and your quick version is perfect for a busy family like mine. As always, your photos are terrific! You don’t know how much I want to reach through the screen and sneak one of those olives!

  45. Yummy Marie! This is my favorite kind of food for the fall! I love your focaccia too!

  46. This dish is so comforting and truly a quick meal that we enjoy as well. And… the focaccia looks amazing, wish I could break off a corner 😉

  47. Thanks Marie, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful and I do so love seeing everyone and those wonderful places, but I am just getting to old for the actual travelling part of it now, (lol). have a wonderful weekend, I am off to buy BN squash and sausages, hugs, Kathy

  48. Wow that does look good. Very comfort foodish, and it also looks beautifully put together

  49. You are speaking to my heart and stomach here…this is total comfort food for me! This looks delicious! Love the olives and rosemary on the bread!

  50. Marie, Soon I am off again to see the kids and the family back in England, I am saving all these recipes to cook for them while I am there, so that they finally decide to move to the USA and I can finally stop going back and forth. the lasagna, polenta and spicy sausage with focacia might just do the trick lol. Kathy.

  51. You are jsut cranking out tons of good stuff.This dish is perfect with all the goings ons and weathr now. I love those great local markets. In this age it just so hard for them to compete.

  52. That is definitely a sweet idea for a quickie meal. I don’t really have any experience cooking w/ polenta yet but it sounds quite comforting. That focaccia looks like it took a good deal more effort than you describe too!

  53. You are so right.. comfort food was the first word that popped into my head when I saw this picture! I can’t wait to try this! I am actually going to place this picture on top of my desktop so I don’t forget! This is definitely worth remembering Marie!!

    I love that you have a simple version of the focaccia bread, my husband loves this and I don’t make it often because the recipe I have calls for potatoes also and it takes more time than I usually have!

    Ciao and grazie for these great dishes!

  54. OMG… I am sooooo happy I found you… Your recipes are incredible and I love to cook them…I wish we lived close together so we could sit and have coffee and talk about cooking…


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