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Cheesy Polenta & Egg Casserole

May/June 2008

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (63 votes)

This memorable brunch centerpiece is rich with cheesy polenta, crumbled sausage and baked eggs.



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Cheesy Polenta & Egg Casserole Recipe

Makes: 6 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 4 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, (see Shopping Tip)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces Italian turkey sausage, casing removed
  • 1/2 cup shredded fontina, or mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
  • 6 large eggs

Preparation

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk cornmeal into the boiling water. Add salt and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the polenta bubbles, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking frequently, until very thick, 10 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, once the polenta comes to a boil, transfer it to the top of a double boiler, cover, and place over barely simmering water for 25 minutes. This is convenient, because you don’t need to stir it as it cooks.)
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add sausage. Cook, stirring and breaking the sausage into small pieces with a spoon, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Drain if necessary and transfer to a cutting board; let cool. Finely chop when cool enough to handle.
  3. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  4. When the polenta is done, stir in fontina (or mozzarella) and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. If the polenta seems too stiff, add small amounts of water to thin it to a thick but not stiff consistency. Spread the polenta in the prepared pan.
  5. Make six 2-inch-wide indentations in the polenta with the back of a tablespoon. Break eggs, one at a time, into a custard cup and slip one into each indentation. Scatter the sausage on the polenta and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano evenly on top of the eggs.
  6. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Then broil until the egg whites are set, 2 to 4 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4 up to 2 hours ahead; hold the polenta at room temperature and refrigerate the sausage until ready to bake.
  • Shopping Tip: Polenta, a creamy Italian porridge, can be made from any type of cornmeal. Coarsely ground cornmeal, available in many natural-foods stores, is a great option because is has big corn flavor and light texture. It's usually labeled "cornmeal," but some brands are labeled "polenta."

Nutrition

Per serving: 295 calories; 17 g fat (6 g sat, 6 g mono); 241 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrates; 19 g protein; 2 g fiber; 683 mg sodium; 148 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Calcium (24% daily value).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1 starch, 2 medium-fat meat, 1 fat


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