Chinese Broccoli with Sausage and Polenta

1-2  bunches Chinese broccoli, thick ends trimmed

For polenta
6 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups polenta (not instant) or yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
For sausage and garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
     Cut broccoli stems diagonally into 1-inch pieces and coarsely chop leaves. Cook stems in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in leaves and cook 1 minute. Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Do not squeeze out excess water.  
     Bring water with salt to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan, then add polenta in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Cook over moderate heat, whisking, 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer polenta, covered, stirring for 1 minute after every 10 minutes of cooking, 45 minutes total. Stir in butter, cream, and cheese and remove from heat.
     Sauté sausage and garlic while polenta cooks:
     Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté sausage, stirring and breaking up meat into large pieces with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. Reduce heat to moderate, then cook garlic in skillet, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes.
     Add broccoli and cook, stirring and scraping up brown bits from bottom of skillet, 2 minutes. Return sausage to skillet and toss with greens, salt, and pepper. Serve over polenta.

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