Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE polenta? I think you all know by now I have a love affair with polenta, not to mention a few other taste bud tingling ingredients like chipotle chili pepper and halibut! But truly, polenta is one of those fabulously versatile ingredients that can make dinner simple and delicious.
I often serve creamy polenta as a side dish with my slow braised recipes such as the Stracotto or the Chicken Fricasse. However, polenta makes a fabulous entree as well. This polenta lasagna is easy to assemble and if you don’t have time to prepare your sauce, just choose your favorite jarred sauce. Make this meal vegetarian with soy meat crumbles added to the sauce, or simply add in roasted veggies to the sauce, such as eggplant and zuchini, and top with your favorite Italian cheeses. Make your Polenta Lasagna Vegan by topping with Vegan Soy Cheese or any of your favorite Vegan cheeses.
I’ve included a few jarred sauce recommendations as well as a yummy ragout recipe. This dish keeps well in the frig for a few days and can be reheated in the oven or microwave. If you have a lot of leftovers, just freeze individual portions and reheat when needed.
The weeknight meal just got yummier! Happy Cooking!
Auntie K’s Polenta Lasagna
6 cups chicken or veggie broth (for creamier polenta use 1 cup milk with 5 cups broth)
2 cups quick cook polenta
½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Heat the oven to 350F. In a medium stock pot, bring the broth to a boil. Slowly add the polenta and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Simmer the polenta until it thickens. Pour the polenta into a greased 9×11 baking dish. Bake the polenta for about 10-15 minutes until its firm.
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
6-8 cloves garlic, diced
1 lb ground pork or Italian pork sausage (I prefer Isernio’s)
1lb ground chicken (I prefer Isernio’s)
1 cup dry red wine
2 28oz cans fire roasted crushed organic tomatoes (I prefer Muir Glen)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Heat a large Dutch oven or stock pot on medium high heat. Add a little olive oil to the pot and then add the onions. Sauté the onions until translucent and then add the garlic, sautéing a few minutes more.
Add the ground meats and cook until all the steam has evaporated and the meat is beginning to brown.
Pour in the red wine and stir, scraping all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the canned tomatoes.
Turn the heat down to medium low so the tomatoes don’t splatter all over you, and then stir in the herbs and seasoning. Turn the heat to low and cover. Let the sauce simmer slowly for several hours for best taste. However, if you don’t have that much time, let the sauce simmer for at least 15-30 minutes.
If using a jarred sauce, brown your meat and then add your sauce. Heat until bubbly and proceed as directed below.
Pour the sauce over the prepared polenta. Sprinkle with fresh mozzarella, parmesan and Romano cheeses.
Place in the pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is warm and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Cut in squares just like lasagna and serve with a salad of fresh greens or roasted veggies.
Jarred Sauce Recommendations: Muir Glen Cabernet Marinara, Rao’s Homemade Marinara. You can also get fabulous recommendations on most every food product and kitchen tool at www.cooksillustrated.com . A wonderful resource that I highly recommend.
Recipe Compliments of: www.karistaskitchen.com