Braised Fennel, Spicy Sausage on Creamy Polenta

3 fennel bulbs, sliced into 1/8 inch
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. salt
1 T. thyme (opt.)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise (opt.)

Gently heat oil. Add fennel

Toss with oil
Cover and cook on low for about one hour

or until very soft and golden brown. Reserve.
In the same pan, brown 1 lb. spicy sausage without casing (I bought this sausage out of the casing at Whole Foods).
If you like a sauce, this recipe can be adapted by adding to the cooked sausage
1/4 c. white wine, reduced dry and followed by 1/2 c. cream. Simmer for about 2 minutes until desired thickness.
Add 1 15 oz. can of tomatoes, juice and seeds removed, diced and 1/2 c. rough chopped basil leaves. Simmer with sausage for about 3 minutes. Try to use San Marzano tomatoes.

Make 4 servings of polenta following the directions on the package. When done, vigorously stir in:

1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
2 T. butter
salt and pepper to taste

Spoon polenta into four bowls and make a well in the middle. Top with sausage and fennel.

Note: The fennel and sausage can be prepared ahead and reheated so that the final preparation only involves the making of the polenta.


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