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?)

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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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23 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Davyd

    Absolutely magnificent! I was a little nervous about using the broiler since I don’t do that too much. A little too much oil in the pan (I used a cast-iron skillet) did cause a little smoke, and I took it out before it was “crispy” but it was still great. I used the heat options (sriracha jalapeno sausage, and crushed red pepper instead of fennel seed) and it was delicious. I’ll be making this again … and again!


  2. Carri

    I made this tonight. It was pretty good. I did have problems with browning the polenta under the broiler. It just wouldn’t brown! So I took it out and fried it in a skillet. It still took a long time to brown. What’s the deal? I did make my own polenta (for the first time) I only had a medium grind on hand. It was easy. Made it at night and put it in a oiled glass bread loaf pan; covered it with wax paper right up against the polenta and stuck it in the refrigerator over night. It came out easy and sliced up easy as well when it came time to cook dinner the next night.


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  3. Rebekah

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

  4. Gracie

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


  5. Linda Rogers

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


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Polenta Sausage Mozzarella Casserole