Polenta Sausage Mozzarella Casserole

DinnerComfort FoodGluten-FreePolenta

Italian sausage casserole with polenta, Italian sausage, tomato sauce, and Mozzarella cheese.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

My father found this recipe in an issue of Sunset Magazine and it sounded so good he just had to try it.

He even made the polenta from scratch instead of using the store-bought prepared version which the original recipe called for. (How cool is that?)

Polenta with an Italian sausage tomato sauce, topped with Mozzarella – of course it was great.

You can substitute turkey sausage for the Italian sausage or even skip the sausage and use chopped zucchini instead for a vegetarian option.

Here is our slightly-modified-from-the-original version.

Polenta Sausage Mozzarella Casserole Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 6 servings.

This recipe is for a "sweet" version of this casserole, meaning not spicy. For a picante version, use hot Italian sausage and use red pepper flakes instead of the fennel seeds.


  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (removed from casings)
  • 2 pounds of prepared polenta, 1/2-inch slices if using prepared polenta in a tube (can use one recipe of creamy polenta, leave out the cream cheese)
  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch slices


1 Cook the onions and sausage in olive oil: Heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a large (2-3 qt) saucepan on medium heat. Add the sliced onion and sausage and sauté, stirring often, until the meat is browned.

2 Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and fennel seeds to the sauté pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

3 Add the tomato, cover the pan, lower the heat to medium, and simmer for 20 minutes.

4 Broil the cooked polenta: While the sauce is cooking, coat the bottom of a 9x13-inch lasagna or gratin pan (a pan that can handle the heat of a broiler) with a 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the cooked polenta (or slices) to the pan. Coat the top of the polenta with a little more olive oil. Broil the polenta about 4 inches from the heating element until golden brown and crispy, about 10-15 minutes.

5 Add sauce, mozzarella, broil again: Pour sauce over broiled polenta, then arrange mozzarella slices over the top and return the casserole to the broiler. Broil until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

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Recipe adapted from a recipe in Sunset Magazine.

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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20 Comments / Reviews

No ImagePolenta Sausage Mozzarella Casserole

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Rebekah

    I substituted soy chorizo for the sausage, making it a vegetarian meal. It was great. My family didn’t even notice.

  2. Gracie

    Made this tonite and it was Delicious-we all had seconds!


  3. Linda Rogers

    I made this for dinner tonight. It is so good. My husband was very impressed. What a great comfort food. Loved it


  4. Loretta Overman

    When I was a child living in the county, one of the things we often had for breakfast was what Mom called Cornmeal mush. I was the one that had to stir it, and I took pride in not having any lumps in it! We ate it with milk and sugar like a hot cereal. Mom spread the lefovers in a buttered square baking pan and smoothed it evenly on top. The next morning she cut the cold mush in squares (like corn bread) and browned both sides melted butter in a hot cast iron skillet. We ate the fried polenta with syrup. Yummy!

    I also like to serve it with just salt and pepper and serve with eggs. This is a very economical meal and delicious!

  5. Mike Hedges

    I decided on the pre-cooked polenta after I discovered what it took to make polenta from scratch. Pre-cooked polenta is not carried by Publix or Kroger. I found it at Whole Foods.

    The recipe quantities for the amount of pre-cooked polenta and mozzarella did not really work for a 9×13 baking dish. I bought two packages of polenta (12oz each) and only needed one and a half. The mozzarella quantity is way too much. I bought four 1/4 inch slices(which were way to thick) and it was almost 1 1/4 pounds. I think using shredded mozzarella would be much better. Plus you could cover the entire baking dish.

    I altered the tomato sauce a bit by adding thyme and basil in addition to the oregano (all dried). I also used hot turkey sausage.

    Dish was very good (my daughter and her boy friend went back for seconds) but next time I will use slightly smaller sized slices of polenta and use shredded mozzarella.

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Polenta Sausage Mozzarella Casserole