One-Pan Sweet Italian Sausage with Polenta
A hot oven produced excellent results, but could our skillet stand the heat?
Why This Recipe Works
To make this Italian American classic using only one skillet, we turned to “instant” polenta—already cooked and dried—because it needed only to be whisked into hot liquid to turn into a savory porridge. First we lightly browned sliced onion, red bell pepper, and fennel, and then we transferred the vegetables to a plate. Adding milk and water to the now-empty skillet and bringing it to a boil, we whisked in the polenta along with butter and Parmesan cheese to add richness. We then topped the mixture with the partially cooked vegetables and raw sausages and slid the skillet into the oven to finish cooking and brown the sausages. Since the vegetables left flavorful browning on the bottom of the skillet, which then released into the polenta cooking liquid and turned it grayish-brown, we switched to a nonstick skillet so that the bits stayed on the vegetables rather than in the pan. But while the hot 450-degree oven browned the raw sausages nicely, it was too much heat for the skillet's silicone handle. The solution? A tried-and-true test kitchen trick: wrapped in a double layer of wet paper towels and a double layer of aluminum foil, the handle is protected from the oven's intense heat.